Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian, East Indian. These are just some of the many ethnicities represented at Yuba College. The Yuba College campus is very diverse, but how much do we really know about each other?
The “Crossing Borders and Building Bridges” program is a series of multi-cultural and race relations speaking events, designed for students and staff to gain a better understanding of the many different cultures and religions that make-up the Yuba College community.
According to coordinator Neelam Canto-Lugo, the title “Crossing Borders and Building Bridges” was selected with the belief that if we overcome our barriers, we can build a bridge of understanding.
The program began four years ago, and is the joint effort of speech instructor Neelam Canto-Lugo, Instructional Associate Tony Jow, counselor Bidya Pradha and counselor Neena Gill. In 1998, the committee wrote a grant proposal and was awarded $3,500 to begin the series.
Since 1998, the college has been unable to continue funding the program. According to Canto-Lugo, however, many community members and other organizations on campus have been very gracious in donating money to the program, including the Staff Development Committee, the Associated Students of Yuba College (ASYC), retired political science instructor Bob Singh, Yuba College Board Member Leela Rai and retired philosophy instructor Larry Moorman.
“This program has made a connection between Yuba College and the community,” said Canto-Lugo. “Many of our speakers don’t even charge us because they believe in empowering students by giving them knowledge.”
Many of the speakers speak about cultures and race relations, but the program has also featured speakers on gender, disabilities and political issues. According to Canto-Lugo, presenters are usually people in the community, Yuba College instructors and students, or professors from neighboring colleges.
The number of presentations range from 7 to 12 per semester and are at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually in room 521.
If students attend nine or more presentations, they can receive one extra transferable unit in speech 49-Special Projects for Multi-Cultural Studies. Students who are unable to attend the presentations may check out the videos in the Media Center in the library.
In May 2003, the “Crossing Borders and Building Bridges” program will present “A Festival of Colors,” in which all cultures are represented. An activity is scheduled for everyday of the week. Each year the title is translated into another language. Last May’s title was “Fiesta de Colores,” the Spanish translation of “Festival of Colors.”
Also, the crossing borders program has sponsored some of the many displays in the library. One of last semester’s most popular displays was the Japanese-American internment camp exhibit.
“The library and the media staff have been very helpful with the displays and the videos,” said Canto-Lugo.
According to Canto-Lugo, the crossing borders series has been well received by students and staff thus far. “I think it’s great students are being exposed to other cultures,” said Edmanuel Andrade who has attended several crossing borders presentations the past few semesters.Canto-Lugo said some of the most popular presentations so far have been “The Life of Frieda Kahlo,” “Music-Beethoven and Britney (Spears),” and the three black history month speakers.
Even though the semester is nearly over, there are still two more presentations scheduled for December. The topics include “Christmas Around the World” and Hanukkah.
The crossing borders committee met in mid-November to discuss the Spring 2003 series.
“Through crossing borders, students come away with a better understanding of not only others, but also themselves,” said Canto-Lugo. “Students can learn how to deal with the world outside of Yuba College.”
For more information on the “Crossing Borders and Building Bridges” program, contact Neelam Canto-Lugo at 741-6880.