ASEDOM injects Dominican heritage into club life
In a college known for its fast-paced and diverse commuter population, it is difficult to imagine a group promoting togetherness among different cultures existing at all. A club working to mesh different cultures is a valuable community service. Associate Estudiante Dominicano does just that.
Although they take pride in their Dominican roots and proudly support the common ideals shared by Dominicans, ASEDOM strives to unite Baruch’s melting pot of students while simultaneously accommodating the needs of Baruch’s often forgotten Dominican population through inclusive cultural events.
“ASEDOM, like many other cultural clubs, has trouble attracting those of different backgrounds,” explained ASEDOM President Frances Subervi. “Many think because they aren’t Dominican or don’t have friends of the Dominican descent, they will not be welcomed. That has been a challenge we have tried to collectively work together to overcome by having events that promote unity within all cultures and inspires people to come celebrate where they come from with us.”
ASEDOM’s dedication to inclusiveness can be seen in its wide array of engaging events that are inspired from Dominican culture. With games such as dominoes being popular, it is no surprise that ASEDOM has held its competitive dominoes tournament for many years. Similarly, the club hosts an annual Mamboneo event, where professional dancers educate students on the intricacies of Latin dance such as bachata, merengue and salsa. Adding on to its annual events, the club also hosts a yearly potluck event that draws students of various backgrounds. Most recently, the club hosted a Dominican Carnival inspired by similar events in the Dominican Republic held to celebrate Dominican Independence Day.
“We not only informed people about a historic event and time in the Dominican Republic but also allowed them to come experience a rich part of our culture,” said the club’s Vice President Rayxely Tejada of the event, which featured various performances, games and activities.
“We were able to provide them with an experience from our country that many students probably didn’t even know existed. ASEDOM is all about bringing people together for one common goal, but also allows that goal to be reached through many different ways.”
Still, ASEDOM keeps its core virtues of culture, excellence and unity in mind when aiding Dominican students in need of social or educational assistance. At the root of its cause, ASEDOM has fought to squash the negative stereotypes that plague Dominican students, among other issues.
“It’s important that there is an association for Dominican students, because there are a lot of issues and conflicts we as Dominicans face in the world,” said ASEDOM Secretary Jharline Calderon.
“An organization like ASEDOM can help join them together to avoid facing these issues alone. Issues like the poverty in the Dominican Republic and the culture shock of moving from your home country to another. Also many Dominican-Americans want to be more in touch with their culture and are not able to learn about where they come from as much as they would like because they don’t believe they have the resource,” she said.
“These are problems ASEDOM tries to crack down on. ASEDOM is not only a club available to students who are curious about Dominican traditions or the culture but also those who are of the culture and seek to find other students on campus who can also relate about where they come from.” she added.
All in all, ASEDOM’s goals remain clear: to maintain a safe and supportive environment for Dominican students and non-Dominican students alike. In the future, ASEDOM plans to host a gala event with a “Latinos in Education” theme. Taking from the club’s credo, the event will serve to display the importance of Latino educators through invited speakers, while also distinguishing Latinos who have displayed greatness within Baruch.
“[ASEDOM’s founders] wanted everyone to see that there are Dominicans who are educated and professional,” said Subervi. “Throughout the years we have proven that Dominicans are not their stereotypes and, we have many great aspects to offer to the community ... ASEDOM is all about bringing people together for one common goal, but also allowing that goal to be reached through many different ways.”