CNU's First Annual Multicultural Alumni Weekend Yardshow

Christopher Newport University’s very first Multicultural Alumni Weekend was this past weekend. A noteworthy event of the weekend was the NPHC Yard Show. NPHC organizations play a major role in the college experiences for students of color and for our campus as a whole. Representation is so extremely important, as is awareness of these organizations. Here at CNU, we currently have 5 NPHC Greek Letter sorority/fraternity organizations represented on campus. At the Yardshow, 3 of them performed: Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Alpha Phi Alpha. There were also performances from NPHC organizations from William & Mary's Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc., and Old Dominion University's La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc.

The Alphas

The yardshow was a huge hit. It was so entertaining and incredible seeing these individuals work together in their groups and stroll/step in such unity. The performances were so intense and it was a privilege to watch organizations not only from our school, but other amazing schools as well, perform beautifully in tribute to their cultures. Multicultural weekend was definitely a hit and hopefully will be continued next year and the years after that. After the show, we were lucky enough to talk to members of each organization and find out details about their routines and what multicultural weekend means to them. We are so grateful to have been able to see their performances and talk to them afterwards.

A special thank you to Deja Lewis, Shadae Strother, and Cassandra Bates from Delta Sigma Theta; Jessica Schalow and Alyssa Day from Zeta Phi Beta; Jackie Valles and Jeaneth Reyes from Sigma Iota Alpha at William & Mary; Rodolfo Monterroso and Antony Mondragon from La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda at Old Dominion University; and Quentin Watts and Nassir Criss from Alpha Phi Alpha for talking to us!

What does multicultural weekend mean to you?

Deja, Shadae, Cassandra (DST): Some representation of us! We’re all black females, and we’re not really represented on campus as much, so to see the alumni come back and see what we’re doing is great. Not even just black females, but black people in general and also other cultures. When we all come together it’s a really good feeling. We were glad to see the Latino fraternities and sororities come out because that was different and exposed CNU to new things!

Alyssa (ZPB): It means a lot to us because we (Zeta) are historically black so it means a lot with us coming out here with me obviously being black and my line sister (Jessica) being white and showing people that like there is more to us than just being historically black.

Jackie & Jeaneth (SIA): It’s a weekend in which we celebrate other cultures and recognize that everyone’s different. It’s hard because we don’t really have that in William & Mary yet, we’re just starting to get more diversity and starting to incorporate more, so it’s really cool that you guys have this.  

Rodolfo and Antony (LUL): For us it’s just a way for alumni from different cultures to come back and be welcomed back to the campus they loved. It’s good for networking opportunities and for alumni to come back and share their resources.

Quentin and Nassir (APhiA): A chance for us to display inclusivity and all of the diversity that’s on campus that people may not be able to see on a daily basis. It’s an opportunity for CNU to start bridging that gap between different people on campus. There’s a lot of barriers that separate different people and groups, so this weekend is really cool because you get to see a lot of different people like Her Campus and Greek Life here just kinda meshing together to have a good time and enjoy themselves.

Jessica Schalow and Alyssa Day from Zeta Phi Beta

How long did you work on your routine?

Deja, Shadae, Cassandra (DST): About 3 to 3 and a half weeks.

Jackie & Jeaneth (SIA): About 2 hours… (to which we responded, "SERIOUSLY? Two hours?") Yeah, we usually stroll for fun, so putting it together was pretty easy. So technically the practicing took us 30 minutes, and the actual mixing of the music took us the other hour and a half. When you got that chemistry… you know!

Jessica & Alyssa (ZPB): We kind of had this last minute, so we only worked for about two weeks. We wanted to hold the chapter down since they are all at a conference right now.

Rodolfo and Antony (LUL): We’ve known the routine since like the Summer, but we’ve been practicing on and off. So in total it took us like a week to get it down. We work constant hours, so this is our work out.

Quentin and Nassir (APA): About two months.

The ladies of Delta SIgma Theta 

What's Your Favorite Part of Stepping/Strolling?

Jessica & Alyssa (ZPB): Honestly, going out there and having fun and just being with your sisters and knowing that they are into the same thing that you are. It’s a really good feeling to put all the hard work in and then be able to show this is what we’re about.

Jackie & Jeaneth (SIA): We don’t step at all, we just stroll. We really enjoy learning a new stroll, being with each other and the other hermanas that we stroll with; our favorite move is our pumping.

Rodolfo and Antony (LUL): Everything is always planned but in strolling, we don’t have to plan anything out. It’s fun. It’s a good workout. Mainly, the crowd’s reaction, when they’re cheering and shouting it’s awesome. Number one thing: for the culture.

Quentin & Nassir (APA): Just seeing the smile it brings to peoples faces. Definitely the crowd. Strolling by yourself in your room is fun too, cause you get to be your biggest fan, but getting to see the crowd and people being excited about it, at the end of the day it’s a way for us to express ourselves but also get people excited as well. It’s like a prideful thing for us, something that makes us proud.

Rodolfo Monterroso and Antony Mondragon from La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda at Old Dominion University

What do you want people to gain from coming to these events?

Jessica & Alyssa (ZPB): We want people to understand more of what we’re about. Being around us, it’s not just all serious knowing all of our principles and stuff it’s also fun to be out there with other organizations and getting to know each other.

Jackie & Jeaneth (SIA): Definitely an awareness of Latino Greeks; I think we’re very undermined. There’s more out there -- we have several other organizations, not just us. It’s all about being informed and spreading awareness.

Rodolfo and Antony (LUL): Just more awareness about our organizations, not a lot of people know about Latinx Greeks. We’re trying to get the word out that we’re here and trying to expand. And definitely networking and reaching out to our alumni.

Quentin & Nassir (APA): More knowledge and putting our organization at the forefront, so maybe they do more research, to build our name on campus. Due to the small amount of minorities on campus it’s kind of hard to get our brand and our name out there and just getting us as a people to be seen. It gets us seen in a way that’s positive. It’s an opportunity to not only educate but just give everyone the opportunity to be exposed to it. For a lot of people, the reason they don’t know so much about Black Greek Life is because they’re not exposed to it -- everyone kinda lives inside of their own little bubbles. But things like this give people the opportunity to say, like, "Hey come check it out, come see what its about," and take something away that you may be able to facilitate to other people.  

Jackie Valles and Jeaneth Reyes from Sigma Iota Alpha at William & Mary

 

We really enjoyed attending and covering this event -- we can't wait to see more from these awesome organizations!