New groups bring more culture to campus

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If you resolved to get more involved in campus life in the New Year, Ryerson now has five new cultural groups to join. The red tape ahs been cut and the funding is in place. Now it’s time to begin planning activities for you. Cheryl Godenough finds out what the new groups hope to do.

Ryerson Association of Hip Hop Culture (RAHC)

PURPOSE: Students will soon be feeling the groove of hip hop music as the Ryerson Association of Hip Hop Culture hits the campus.

John Kumahara, co-president of the association, believes hip hop is often portrayed negatively. The third-year engineering student hopes the group will help eliminate negative stereotypes surrounding hip hop culture.

“Hip hop is not just about gangsta’ rap. It has some positive qualities and we want to show this positivity to Ryerson students,” he says. According to Kumahara, the four features of hip hop culture are break dancing, graffiti art, MC-ing and DJ-ing. By planning activities around these elements, he hopes the group will show the positive qualities of a “misunderstood” culture.

NEXT EVENT: No date has been set for a first meeting, but look for it in the next two weeks.

INFO: John Kumahara,

Persian Association of Ryerson Students (PARS)

PURPOSE: As you might guess from the name, the objective of the PARS is to promote and make Ryerson students aware of Persian culture. Persia is president-day Iran.

Shabnam Akhtari, vice-president of the group, says that by learning about celebrations, traditions and the history of Persian people, students will have a better understanding and appreciation for the culture. “This is a cultural group and everyone is welcome. We do not discuss religious issues at our meetings. Our main focus is to promote our culture around Ryerson,” says the second-year business student. The group will also offer tutoring to Persian students at the school.

NEXT EVENT: The time and date for an upcoming Valentine’s Day dance will be announced soon.

MAIN EVENT OF THE YEAR: Yalda Night, which means the “longest night of the year,” is a holiday Persians celebrate. On Dec. 22, 1998, the group had a party to celebrate Yalda Night. Akhtair says this will be an annual event.

INFO: Shabnam Akhtair,

Winners Army Christian Fellowship

PURPOSE: Winners Christian Fellowship, as the group is known, believes spirituality improves the quality of a person’s life.

Moses Akingbade, president of the group, says the purpose of the association is to understand and find faith by believing in the word of God. “We believe that God has a plan of excellence for us. IF we are actively involved in our faith, our life will only be better,” says the second-year science student.

Akingbade hopes this group will enable people with similar beliefs to get together and appreciate the importance of the Christian religion in their life.

NEXT EVENT: Akingbade says the group is planning to put together a gospel choir soon.

INFO: Moses Akingbade,

Descendants of the Nations of Africa (DNA)

PUPROSE: Miscommunication with the RyeSAC student groups committee is ancient history. After getting their group approved, DNA has joined the ranks as one of the new student groups this year. The only history Keith Gregory wants to talk about now is the history of African people.

Gregory, the president of DNA, says the purpose of the group is for students to learn about and appreciate the history of African and Caribbean cultures. “We want to make the people of Ryerson aware of and appreciate the culture and history of African countries,” says the third-year science student.

He says the group hopes to learn about African dances and traditions unique to that culture. He stresses the group is not only for African students and hopes that anybody who is interested will check them out.

UPCOMMING EVENTS: The group is planning a bake sale in February and will produce a cultural cookbook. Gregory says the group is also planning a Jeopardy game anyone in the school can participate in. The game will focus on the history of African countries. A cash prize of $100 will be awarded. No specific date has been set.

INFO: Keith Gregory,

Sikh Students Association

PURPOSE: Many people are happy that Ryerson finally has an organization that represents Sikhism. Gupreet Singh is one of those happy people. Singh is the president of the group. While Ryerson has many groups promoting the multitude of cultures in our school, Sikhism was never before represented. In September, the Sikh Students Association became another cultural group on campus. “We want to get better spirit because there wasn’t any before. We want students to be aware of the religious and cultural aspects of Sikhism,” says Singh, a third-year business student.

While cultural and religious aspects will be the main focus of the group, there will also be social events such as dances and movie nights. Singh hopes that any student interested will check out the group.

NEXT EVENT: The Sikh Students Association of Ryerson is joining with the Sikh group at U of T to have a Valentine’s Day dinner and dance but no date has been set yet.

MAIN EVENT: Before exams each semester, the Sikh association will hold a religious ceremony to wish its members good luck.

INFO: Gupreet Singh,

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