Kwanzaa Creativity Celebration provides unique opportunity to learn


The Appalachian Online

Aleah Warner

Appalachian State University held its first Kwanzaa Creativity Celebration in Plemmons Student Union on Tuesday as an extension of the original Kwanzaa Celebration and Feast that has been hosted by the BSA and Multicultural Student Development for eight years.

Sparked by the combined efforts of MSD, BSA and Appalachian Popular Programming Society’s cultural awareness and student engagement council, the Kwanzaa Creativity Celebration was added to the itinerary in order to better showcase the seven principles of Kwanzaa in an interactive way.

“Kwanzaa events have been going on [at Appalachian] for quite a few years now and they wanted to make it a little bit bigger,” said Jana Vise, Associate Director of Student Programs. “They do have a good attendance at Kwanzaa every year, but they were wanting to make it a little bit broader to let people know more about the holiday.”

The Kwanzaa Creativity Celebration provided information about the holiday through PowerPoint slides and hands-on activities. Students and community families alike were in attendance and were encouraged to make beaded bracelets and to sign their handprint on a Kwanzaa banner that will be hung at the feast on Friday.

This event specifically highlighted the creativity value of Kwanzaa, which focuses on the importance of setting aside time to create a gift for someone else and to connect with the community.

“Specifically what’s important about Kwanzaa is that it’s a cultural holiday,” said Karissa Goff, senior psychology major and chairperson of CASE. “A lot of holidays that come up this season are religious so Kwanzaa is cool because even if you don’t identify with the African ties to it, if you don’t want to celebrate a religious holiday, Kwanzaa is a good alternative.”

Interim assistant director for MSD Everette Nichols said there are hopes these events will be a learning experience for students.

“I’m hoping that students walk away with a basic understanding of what Kwanzaa is, why it’s important and why the university celebrates it, even if it is just finding out what Kwanzaa stands for or learning just the little pieces,” Nichols said. “If they don’t walk away with textbook information, they can walk away with a tangible item like the bracelets.”

The festivities end with the Kwanzaa Celebration and Feast that will be hosted at Parkway Ballroom on Friday at 6 p.m. The event will replicate the feasts had at the end of Kwanzaa and will include live music, poetry, and food catered from Dan’l Boone Inn.

Story: Aleah Warner, Intern A&E Reporter