By Tosh Umesh, Contributing Writer
Regional Night Fall 2019 took place on Saturday, October 26th at the Beus Center for Law and Society. The biannual event, which is typically done during the Premier Weekend for prospective students, is a staple of Thunderbird’s tradition and mystique. This semester the theme was Africa and the Caribbean and featured an assortment of food, performances, and vendors.
“Regional night embodied what it is to be a Thunderbird,” commented first-year MGM student Joy Crutchfield. “It allowed everyone to spend the night traveling the world while building their local community.”
The night kicked off at 6:00 p.m. with Liona Muchenje and MaryGlory Stevens acting as emcees. After a plentiful dinner consisting of staples from the African continent and the Caribbean, such as plantains, curried goat, jerk chicken, jollof rice, and stewed vegetables, Thunderbird’s Dean Sanjeev Khagram gave opening remarks. He spoke about his experience growing up in Africa and regaled the audience with tales of learning from Nobel Peace Prize recipient and human rights activist Desmond Tutu. After the Dean’s comments, the festivities really kicked off with performances by a variety of talented Thunderbird students and other performers from all over the world.
“There were some really cool and diverse songs and performances,” said first-year MGM and Regional Night volunteer Jacob Loomis. “As someone who has lived in several African countries, I can attest to how diverse the continent is, and I think the breadth of the performances really captured that.”
Along with performances, the venue’s decor had a truly exotic flavor, with the various flags of Africa and the Caribbean standing proudly outside the ASU Law building. The tables where decorated with colorful materials and also had informational pages on many influential African and Caribbean figures, including Nelson Mandela, Abiy Ahmed, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
“The whole event had a really great vibe,” said first-year MGM student and TSG representative Ampofo Mensah Jr. “It was important to me that Africa was being shown in a strong and positive light, and I definitely feel like that was accomplished.”
There was also a fashion show, which has become a tradition over the years, featuring the clothing of some Arizona-based designers modeled by various first and second-year Thunderbird students. Some of the featured wardrobes included an African warrior and princess garment, colorful Converse-inspired shoe necklaces, and sleek urban fedoras. The designers also had the chance to sell their clothing to those that were interested.
“The fashion show was fantastic and the night as a whole was a really big success,” said first-year MGM student, TSG Director, and Regional Night Coordinator Sierra Gullette. “It really took people coming together and managing a lot of different moving parts to make this a reality. I think this was a night that many people will remember for a long time.”