Association of Mediterranean Organizations at Rutgers University
Rutgers University is one of the most diverse higher educational institutions in the United States. As such, there are various cultural clubs and organizations which represent different student cultures throughout the Rutgers community. I sat down with Simoni Lu Vanu, the President of Association of Mediterranean Organizations at Rutgers University, to find out how A.M.O.R. contributes to the diverse environment at Rutgers.
Establishment and Purpose of A.M.O.R.
Simoni first started thinking about creating an umbrella organization for the different cultural clubs while in his first year at Rutgers. Towards the end of the fall 2011 semester, he realized he could make it a reality and started speaking with administrators at Rutgers to find out the steps of creating such an organization. A.M.O.R. is an umbrella organization, which unites the different Mediterranean cultural clubs on campus. According to Simoni, A.M.O.R. serves the diverse student population in a few ways. First, A.M.O.R. encourages and promotes the Mediterranean cultures which exist at Rutgers. Next, it bring the issues of stereotypes and racism to light. Lastly, through hosting a number of events, A.M.O.R. tries to fight against social justice issues which the countries in the Mediterranean region may face. In March of 2013, A.M.O.R.’s Mr. and Ms. Mediterranean event was held as a fundraiser for the “Save the Children!” fund.
Diversity at Rutgers and A.M.O.R.
Diversity at Rutgers seems to be all around us. The University prides itself on the fact that we have such a diverse student population who all have great things to offer Rutgers and society overall. Ultimately, A.M.O.R. has been successful in uniting and making the Mediterranean students’ voices heard on campus. Simoni told me he hopes for A.M.O.R. to grow and have even more say at Rutgers.
Simoni also told me about aspirations for future academic programs which may be associated with the Mediterranean region including establishing a cultural center for student and faculty support and Mediterranean Studies Program for students. Although the different cultural clubs in A.M.O.R. have many cultural similarities, they also have some differences, especially political ones which may be hard to resolve. However, Simoni’s plans for A.M.O.R. may be the perfect solution for “bridging the political gap” and uniting the Mediterranean students even more. If the students are more united, they can work better together to promote their goals.