ALANA Networking Fair closes week-long conference

Students and alumni use the ALANA Networking Fair to meet new people and talk about their experiences at Oswego State, as well as an opportunity to make connections.  (Brooke Kruger | The Oswegonian)
Students and alumni use the ALANA Networking Fair to meet new people and talk about their experiences at Oswego State, as well as an opportunity to make connections. (Brooke Kruger | The Oswegonian)

After a week of events celebrating the different cultures at Oswego State, the ALANA Multicultural Leadership Conference came to an end on Saturday.

The conference ended with the ALANA Alumni Networking Fair held near The Point in Campus Center.

At the fair, each group had a stall that it decorated to represent their culture. The groups there included the African Student Organization, Asian Student Association, the Latino Student Union and the Caribbean Student Association.

The fair provided a chance for alumni to come back to the school and talk to some of the students, and the students took advantage of it.

Vice President of the Latino Student Union Claudette Mejia and treasurer Samantha Cordero said they sought connections and got them.

“Knowing we can contact and have a relationship, not just for a day, with them is good,” Cordero said, after getting the contact details of one alumnus who said she could help with the group.

“I’m proud of how the groups can come together, it’s a beautiful thing,” she added.

Mejia said the fair was a good chance “for alumni to come back and see old faces and talk about the past” as well as share their stories with the students.

Larissa Assam and Temi Koya from the African Student Organization said that they “like how it gives us something to do together.”

“The collaboration is great,” Koya said. “It brings us closer to the other groups. It’s nice to see how similar we are,” she said about the Caribbean Student Association, who did a talk called ‘Rainforest Cafe’ with during the conference. “We learned a lot about the Caribbean culture doing that.”

Brandon Farmer, a graduate assistant for Student Involvement, worked at the conference last year as well and said this year was just as good.

“Every year it gets bigger and better,” Farmer said.

Farmer said the weekend is for the ALANA alumni to reunite.

“We asked all ALANA organizations to set up a stand to network and socialize,” he said.

“I hope people make connections that will benefit them,” Farmer said. “Get them on the right foot for when they leave.”

“Some of the alumni may be former members of the ALANA groups and can offer advice that will benefit the students now,” he said.

Rene Patton-Cox, an alumna from the class of 1976, said she met her husband when she was studying at Oswego State.

“We’ve been together for 40 years, married for 20,” she said “I was a part of the BSU.”

“Every five years we come back to Oswego,” Patton-Cox said, mentioning the alumni reunion.

“The first one was in 1996 and I’ve been to every one,” she said.

Patton-Cox said the reason she likes Oswego State was because it was away from her home in New York City.

“But still in the same state, that was important for my mom,” she said “They have beautiful summers as well. I used to come here for theatre over the summer.”

“I was the first to graduate from college in my family,” Patton-Cox said, adding she now has other family members that have graduated from Oswego State.

She said that education is important and that she’s happy that it’s more diverse now.

“It’s the key to moving up and improving,” she said. “Making sure that the next generation does better than what we did.”

“It’s important that everyone has a voice,” Patton-Cox said, adding that education is the key to getting that voice. “The person who is considered the least important may come up with the answer.”