At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, the Lower Level BCC was more crowded than usual. The reason: an open mic night called International Café. This event was both imagined and developed by the Fairfield United group, which is composed of many of the cultural and diversity groups on campus.

The event was organized to show the unity and support among Fairfield students of different cultures and backgrounds. It is the first of two shows that will be put on by Fairfield United.

International Café featured songs, recitations, original poetry and even dance performances by the students of Fairfield. These performances covered a range of topics including love, personal heartache, homelessness, racism, gender inequality.

Bringing all of these diverse issues to light was the purpose of this event. Junior Durell Snow explained that International Café began when students of the campus’ diversity groups expressed their concern with the lack of open expression and spoken word events available to students on campus.

“Last year, we really wanted to give people the opportunity to open up about personal challenges that young people go through on a daily basis,” said Snow. “We really hope to inspire other student spectators to be courageous at facing and opening up to their own realities.”

Another powerful purpose behind the event was to show students that they were not going through personal difficulties and crises alone; rather, the student body was behind them and supporting them.

And it was clear that the students brave enough to share their talents and struggles with their peers were not alone on stage. At several points throughout the night, the student performers tripped over their words, momentarily caught off guard by nerves. However, the students assembled in the audience cheered them on, supporting them through the rest of their performance and helping them continue.

While the focus of the evening was the student body, International Café also featured special guest Mitchell Grey.

Mitchell Grey is an up-and-coming alternative/R&B band featuring the talents of Ryan Bandong (vocals), Joseph Diaz (guitar), Napon Pintong (bass) and Matt Pana (drums). Their own cultural backgrounds echoed the evening’s celebration of diversity.

Mitchell Grey performed a short set comprised mostly of original songs off of their first album “On The Stellar Way,” but they also included a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.”

Overall, Mitchell Grey and the students’ performances and support of each other sent out one message: We are all people. When we discriminate, we only hurt ourselves; when we come together and celebrate our differences, something beautiful is created.

Some students expressed their worries with a drop of participation in the International Café. Senior Gaelle Isazu, a student returning from abroad and previous Asian Student Association executive board member, hoped that the event would “cause those who are not in any cultural clubs to have a change of heart and join.”

“This would help to take away the constantly lingering thought of Fairfield University not having much racial or ethnic diversity,” added Isazu.

By organizing and hosting the event, the groups involved hoped to show the interconnectedness of the many student diversity organizations on campus and move away from the trend of individual activities.

As Isazu said, “It shows that although all cultural clubs are different, they can still come together …”

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