Throughout the month of February, which is also known as Black History Month, several Rensselaer Union student organizations will host a series of cultural, intellectual, social, film, and performance-based programs for members of the campus and local community. This year’s program officially kicks off with a cultural festival that will take place on Saturday, February 3.
The programs and events are sponsored by the Black Students’ Alliance (BSA), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, and UPAC Cinema.
“It has been quite an exciting and rewarding time working alongside BSA, NSBE, and UPAC Cinema to plan the events and programs that will take place for Black History Month,” said Nelson Perello ’18, a civil engineering major and member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. “The programs and events that we have planned serve to educate, entertain, inspire, and spread awareness of the greatness that is African-American culture. It is important to truly appreciate and celebrate all the contributions that African-Americans have made to impact our society and the fabric of our lifestyle in so many ways. These contributions continue to resound around all of us today. It pays homage to the sacrifices and excellence that great people gave to the society we live in, and sheds light on why the concept of knowing who you are is so powerful.”
Prior to the kickoff event, on Friday, February 2, UPAC Cinema will host a screening of the film Roman J. Israel, Esq., which is a 2017 American legal drama written and directed by Dan Gilroy. The film stars Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, and Carmen Ejogo, and follows lawyer Roman J. Israel, who goes to work for a large law firm after his small-firm partner has a heart attack. Screenings are scheduled for 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and midnight in the Darrin Communications Center (DCC), room 308. All viewings will be free to individuals with a Rensselaer ID, and $2.50 for other attendees.
On Saturday, February 3, the cultural festival will take place in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room from noon to 3 p.m. The program will feature several student performances, and culminate with the Zuzu African Acrobats. The group, originating from Mombasa, Kenya, has performed in over 25 countries in the last 10 years. According to the group, the show blends “circus” acrobatics with popular dance moves.
On Friday, February 9, members of the campus and local community are invited to attend a jazz concert and lecture featuring world-renowned flutist and lecturer Galen Abdur-Razzaq. The program, titled “Flute Juice,” explores the history of women in jazz and their impact on the civil rights movement. The event will take place in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Concert Hall from 4 to 6 p.m.
As the month draws to a close, on Saturday, February 24, BSA will host a fashion show. The event will take place in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room, beginning at 7 p.m. The annual event will feature the entrepreneurial designs of several talented modern fashion designers and student models.
The final program will feature a “step and stroll” competition that will take place on Saturday, March 3, in the EMPAC Concert Hall. The program will begin at 7 p.m.
“The various student groups involved in planning this year’s series of events have worked very hard to create a variety of programs that will connect with everyone,” Perello said. “This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes by George R.R. Martin that I often reflect on: ‘Never forget who you are, and surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.’ With this in mind, we hope that members of the campus and community will make plans to attend our programs.”
For more information, and to view additional program details, visit http://union.rpi.edu/