A trip to Chicago supports cultural diversity

Jack Brandt

On the weekend of Nov. 11-13, a group of students and faculty traveled to Chicago as part of an event put on by the Multicultural Programming Board (MPB). During the trip, they visited cultural sites such as the Mexican Art Museum, the DuSable Black History Museum and ate at restaurants that offered food from a variety of cultures.

Senior Caleb Perry, co-director of MPB, took part in the trip.

“It’s nice to step out of the Augie bubble every once in a while,” Perry said. “Since a lot of people don’t have cars, it’s not really the easiest thing to do.”

He said that Chicago is a great location to experience different cultures, “Not only to step out of this environment, but also to intake useful information through history and art, especially in such a cultural center like Chicago,” Perry said.

According to Perry, MPB has had a positive impact on his time at Augustana. He said that they work to get the message out about diversity and inclusion.

“I hope that students are able to gain a better understanding of the cultures that play a part in our world,” Perry said.

One goal of MPB is to support students from different backgrounds. For the Chicago trip, anyone from any background was encouraged to apply.

“There’s events for Greek life or there’s events for athletics, but that’s not everybody’s cup of tea,” Perry said. “I’ve met some of my closest friends in the programs that I’ve been a part of.”

On Saturday night students and faculty attended a theatrical work, “Ride or Die,” about the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns from the perspective of a black man. Earlier in the day they ate at Pearl’s Place, a restaurant known for soul food, and on Sunday they spent time in Chinatown before heading back to Augustana.

Junior Jorge Ocampo, co-chair of planning, lectures and leadership for MPB, also took part in the trip and said that it was a chance for people to come together.

“They wanted to grow as people and become more aware of other cultures and their traditions and the way they speak, because all the cultures express themselves differently and practice very different things,” Ocampo said.

Like Perry, the trip gave Ocampo an opportunity to break from his routine, and to experience a different atmosphere.

“A lot of these people A: were international students, B: have never been to Chicago, or C: have never been able to travel and get a new perspective outside of a predominantly white institution,” Ocampo said.

Junior Mukupa Lungu, also co-chair of lectures and leadership for MPB, works with Ocampo and said that during the application process, they were looking for students who wanted to learn from others.

She said that a person is more than just their name and their family but also the experiences they have that shape them into who they are.

Other events put on by MPB include Caribbean Night and Squid Game from last year, as well as Culture Fest every year and the invitation of various speakers.