Coffee and Culture Encourages Campus Community

Julia Flaherty

This semester’s Coffee and Culture series kicked off this week, teaching students about Hmong culture as well as the importance of community awareness on campus.

Tuesday’s event, “Hmong History and Culture,” drew in a crowd of approximately 75 students.

“About half of the students who come to Coffee and Culture come because of a class,” said Mariah Pfundheller, the student leadership and marketing coordinator of S.I.E.O.

Photo by Emily Hoffmann

Photo by Emily Hoffmann

Either because of a class or more personal interest, most students enjoyed Lor Pao Chang’s talk. Chang was the speaker for the evening and

is also a community hall adviser at Steiner Hall.

Chang began his presentation covering the basics of Hmong culture, starting with the history of the Hmong people as well as their religious beliefs and traditions, then transitioned into recreational activities, music and language.

The lecture was engaging and humorous as Chang delighted the audience with his sense of humor and his Power Point presentation titled, “Living A’Hmong’ One Another.”

Chang’s sense of humor set a good tone for the evening, allowing students to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and laugh when appropriate. Chang’s presentation,

although cheerful, was not all about getting a good laugh though.

The point of Coffee and Culture, as represented in S.I.E.O.’s event tagline, is “culturally-focused conversations served with complimentary tea or coffee!”

Tea was served at this event and was available for all who wished to enjoy. However, it was not the only thing that kept the event warm and lively.

“One of the big benefits about attending the Coffee and Culture nights is that you get to learn about different cultures,” Pfundheller said.

“I came for extra credit for a class but also because I love my Hmong friends and wanted to learn more about them,” said forestry management major Rebecca Vasquez.

This semester’s Coffee and Culture series will feature six different speakers.

“Coffee and Culture is becoming more recognized on campus through different academic departments as well as in published newsletters. At least 40 people have attended these events consistently in the past so our turnout tonight was awesome,” Pfundheller said.

If this first event is any reflection of what students can expect to get in the future from Coffee and Culture, things might begin to look more communal and lively on campus.

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