Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Upcoming UA events for students to kick off fall semester

CW / Natalie Teat
Student and Faculty attend Multicultural Coffee Hour in the Student Center on Friday, Sept. 1.

Each semester, students and faculty organize events such as Multicultural Coffee Hour or Mind Matters. These meetings help every person who attends the University create new connections, explore the UA campus and make the most of their college experience.  

Multicultural Coffee Hour 

The Multicultural Coffee Hour returned with its first event last Friday at the Intercultural Diversity Center, located on the second floor of the Student Center. Sonya Harwood-Johnson, the international programming assistant, said that Multicultural Coffee Hour is a tradition at the University that is at least 30 years old. She is responsible for organizing the coffee hour and similar events, such as the Sakura Festival.  

After the pandemic, the tone of the coffee hour has changed from just greetings, cookies and coffee to a more educational and inclusive space to learn and experience various cultures and foods. Each week, a new country is chosen. 

“And then we make food from that country, and we try our best to make as authentic recipes as possible, which can sometimes be difficult especially for doing countries like Nigeria or Pakistan that we might not have the ingredients for all the times,” Harwood-Johnson said. 

For international students, the coffee hour can be a great way to experience a taste of home or a chance to try foods from the homes of other international students. The coffee hour allows people to learn about a new culture through hands-on experiences. More than a space to try new foods, it is also a chance to listen to new kinds of music from outside of the United States or even learn new games.  

International Student and Scholar Services works with both the Intercultural Diversity Center and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and partners with student organizations such as the Hispanic-Latino Association and the African Students Association. Working with student organizations enables ISSS to better represent countries and to give those organizations a chance to promote their own events. Many of the coffee hours, held once a week each semester, are aligned to prelude international holidays. 

“Later this semester, we’ll have India [coffee hour] right before their big and amazing Diwali event with dancing and fireworks,” Harwood-Johnson said. “It’s a preview to a much larger event that will highlight a country’s culture.” 

Multicultural Coffee Hour is a point of connection for students and even professors who have come to America from a different country. It is a chance to share a part of themselves with the UA community, establish connections and increase cultural understanding.  

Harwood-Johnson said she has even seen one of her own exchange students meet the love of their life at a coffee hour and has watched tenured professors play and become competitive with other students over a board game.  

The theme of the Sept. 1 Multicultural Coffee Hour was Southern culture to welcome international students to The University and Alabama. 

The next Multicultural Coffee Hour will be held on Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Intercultural Diversity Center, Room 2100 at the Student Center. More information can be found on the University’s international programs webpage and on the UA calendar 

Rainbow Connection 

Another returning UA event, Rainbow Connection, held its first meeting last Friday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. This group holds weekly meetings in Room 2418 at the Safe Zone Student Lounge on the second floor of the Student Center.  

The Safe Zone Resource Center is a support center that promotes inclusion for LGBTQ+ people at the University, aims to educate the community, and fosters a safe and respectful environment while providing services to the University’s LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff.  

Rainbow Connection’s dialogues include body image, identity labels and navigating conflict, according to Lizzie Smith, co-coordinator of Rainbow Connection and director of the Safe Zone Resource Center.  

For LGBTQ+ students and their allies, Rainbow Connection provides an opportunity to make supportive connections with other members and set personal goals, according to the UA calendar 

“Rainbow Connection is a resilience-building group specifically for queer students,” said Lyn Coupland-Lowery, office assistant and co-coordinator of Rainbow Connection. “It is focused on building coping skills that students can use in their day-to-day lives.” 

Rainbow Connection is an open, inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students who want to build communication and relationship skills. The event welcomes students who prefer to remain anonymous and simply want a trustworthy space to rely on.   

Mind Matters 

To help with the transition into the fall semester, the UA Counseling Center will host Mind Matters, a workshop series focused on helping students navigate college life. The series will have discussions in person and on Zoom throughout the fall and spring semesters.  

The meetings will cover academic anxiety, healthy relationships, depression, stress management and more, according to Hannah Johnston, the Counseling Center’s assistant director of outreach services.  

“College is a time of transition and growth, and while that is exciting, it can also be challenging,” Johnston said. “These workshops are designed to provide knowledge and teach skills that promote mental health and overall success.” 

For current students looking for individual counseling, services are available by appointment, or by walk-in during business hours in times of crisis. The UA Counseling Center is in the South Lawn Office Building at 1101 Jackson Ave. next to the UA Police Department. 

More details can be found for the workshops on the UA Counseling Center website. 

More to Discover