This week's campus celebrity is none other than Ashley Hobson-Garcia, a U3 Double Major Honors Women’s Studies and Political Science and McGill's very own President of the Caribbean Students' Society. Never heard of it? Read more about the society, which represents all the warm and sunshine-filled islands we love.
Alexandra Faure for Her Campus McGill (HC McGill): Can you explain to our readers what club you are president of?
Ashley Hobson-Garcia (AH): I am currently president of the Caribbean Students’ Society (CSS) of McGill University. The club is geared towards promoting unity amongst people from different Caribbean islands. Moreover, we aim to foster and enhance Caribbean culture within the McGill community.
HC McGill: Can anyone join your club?
AH: Yes! Our club is open to anyone who has an interest in, or wants to learn more about Caribbean culture. In fact, this semester our club has increased its membership numbers by gathering persons from various Caribbean islands and also from beyond, the US, Canada, UK, and many more. Also, once you become a full member of the club you receive discounts at all events.
HC McGill: Where from the Caribbean are you?
AH: I am from Trinidad and Tobago, the southernmost country in the Caribbean, specifically the island Trinidad. It is a twin island republic off the coast of Venezuela.
HC McGill: Can you give us a brief history of the CSS?
AH: From my knowledge, CSS was a club established in the 1990s with the intention to foster unity amongst students from various Caribbean islands and eradicate a fragmented view of Caribbean life. Additionally it was founded as a club to help students adjust to university life, and Montreal more generally. The founders desired to create a space wherein discussions about matters pertaining to the Caribbean interests were welcomed, and furthered. Importantly, these founding intentions very much inform CSS today.
HC McGill: What events have you held so far?
AH: For this semester the club has had two field trips, one for Food Trucks Friday at the Olympic Stadium, and the other one to see the Chinese Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens. We recently had our club Party “the Final Bruk Down” which from all accounts was a great success.
HC McGill: What are other upcoming events the organization will hold?
AH: In the upcoming week we have a collaborative event, “Rum and Roti” with Concordia’s Caribbean Students’ Society (CCSU) and a banquet at the end of November. In the winter semester we hope to have a club discussion, a party, and various collaborative events.
HC McGill: What exactly is Caribbean culture?
AH: Caribbean culture is essentially an umbrella encompassing the many varied customs and tastes of the people's of the Caribbean region, with all its different ethnicities and accents, each country having its own peculiar dialect. Moreover, it contains various artistic, culinary, literary and musical depictions of, and by Caribbean. There is always a oneness among Caribbean people, far more so when in a foreign country where there is a tendency to feel very estranged. I believe because of this very diversity yet oneness, the anomaly of the blanket term, Caribbean Culture, came to be.
HC McGill: What is your best-ever memory with the CSS?
AH: I can’t choose just one, rather, at every event there is this feeling of Caribbean warmth and togetherness. It is this feeling that makes every event at CSS McGill extra special to me.
All images obtained from the Facebook page of Caribbean Students' Society.