The Multicultural Affairs Office and the Arabic and Middle Eastern Club partnered for Tuesday’s Happy Hour event in the Union.
The campus community was invited to come and experience a snapshot of the Middle Eastern culture represented on campus.
The event was sponsored by the MAO office, which is trying to fit in three Happy Hours every semester.
Sophie Metzger, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs, explains the concept behind the Happy Hour events: “We’re trying to highlight the various cultures represented on campus, and the events are geared towards the entire campus community: students, faculty, and staff.”
Metzger explains that the purpose of the Happy Hours is simple: “This is not only to learn about a different culture, but to experience it in fun and interactive ways.”
Tuesdsay’s event had many different activities for students to enjoy and plenty of food as well.
Food included rice and chicken, falafel in pita bread, pistachios and Tunisian dates.
Some of the activities included calligraphy samples, where student members of the Arabic and Middle Eastern club wrote people’s names in Arabic.
Samples of a Bible, the Qur’an and newspapers all written in Arabic were displayed.
A space was also set for backgammon, a game popular in Egyptian street cafes.
Palestinian handmade items were for sale. Items included Christmas tree ornaments, scarves, books, purses and even a nativity scene. The proceeds from the sale of the items will go to the women in WI’AM, the Palestine Conflict Resolution Center, a non-profit in Bethlehem, Palestine, that’s working to empower women.
The Arabic and Middle Eastern Club was started last year at Goshen College by Marcelle Al-Zoughbi and quickly became popular on campus; 75 people joined the club’s mailing list.
According to Al-Zoughbi, she started the club for “people interested in the Middle East and Arabic and to dispel stereotypes and raise awareness of Arabic and the Middle East.”
Al-Zoughbi is originally from Palestine and wanted to share her culture with the campus. She soon found other interested students. In the past the club has had different activities.
Says Al-Zoughbi: “We tried to bring in speakers last year but our budget wasn’t big enough and last year we took a lot of trips to Arab places, like we went to a mosque.”
Al-Zoughbi hopes that the Arabic and Middle Eastern Club can create more events on campus in the future.
“This year we might do a Middle Eastern dance, where we teach a bunch of Middle Eastern dances like the dabke and belly dancing, but not like the media portrays belly dancing; it’s similar but less risque,” she said. Other proposed activities include a movie night where the club would play a movie translated to Arabic or actual Arab movies.
The club has also been organizing Arabic tables on Saturdays for people to practice or learn some Arabic. Al-Zoughbi hopes that eventually the club can take a trip to Deerborn, Mich. or Toledo, Ohio, both of which are cities with large Arab populations.