Kasamahan members cranked up the heat in the McLaren Complex while celebrating their second annual Pamayanan celebration this past Saturday. To kick off this year’s Filipino American History Month, club members and friends gathered to sing, dance, talk, and dine together as a “kammunity” of Filipino-identifying students.
Sophomores Elana Santos and Kim Medina, the organization’s community and political affairs co-directors, served as emcees for the night. Through her position, Santos, who is a psychology major, said she strives to “promote community” and create welcoming spaces that “can be a guiding light for [members].”
“Especially with ‘Pamayanan,’” Santos said, “which means community or togetherness, we try to emphasize the idea that we all play an important role in this space.” Medina and Santos started the night off by prompting everyone with some guiding questions like “Who are your ancestors,” and “What does your first and last name mean to you,” to spark conversations between attendees about their shared heritage and personal identities within the community.
Kasamahan is USF’s Filipinx American student organization and is the largest culturally focused organization on campus. With an executive board of 16 students, the club hosts various events throughout the year for its members and additional supporters.
After the emcees’ welcome, attendees were excused by table to serve themselves from the array of Filipinx foods provided by Bon Appetit. Some people did little dances while standing in line, beaming with anticipation to dine together.
Attendees had their pick of barbecue chicken, vegetable stew called “ginataang kalabasa at sitaw,” steamed rice, chicken and pork spring rolls called “lumpia,” and pork and rice noodles called “pancit bihon.” Calamansi juice, known as “Filipino lemonade,” was also served to compliment the flavors of the dishes.
“My favorite was the lumpia — it was so so good,” said Jasmine Lim, a sophomore chemistry major who joined Kasamahan this year. She came to celebrate after participating in the KATE program. Similar to the “Bigs and Littles” seen in Greek sororities and fraternities, KATE pairs incoming Kasamahan members with existing ones as a way to welcome them into the community and form connections between members.
After dinner, the festivities began. Plates were cleared and chairs were quickly set up in a circular formation to start off highly competitive rounds of musical chairs. Players made their way around the chairs while busting out some moves to hit songs like Sexxy Red’s “Skeeyee.”
The announcement of karaoke had students hopping out of their seats and hollering in excitement. Jaeda Johnson, a sophomore psychology major, wowed the crowd with her Tagalog singing skills in her selection of “Titibo-Tibo,” a hit song by Filipino pop artist Moira Dela Torre. Johnson also paid homage to her heritage through her accessories. Wearing hoop earrings that resembled the Philippine sun, seen on the country’s flag, her display of Filipino pride was met with applause from the audience.
After a few hours filled with singing and dancing, the celebration came to a close. Attendees left McLaren that night with the taste of home in their stomachs and smiles on their faces.