Appalachia Club is hosting the Appalachia Cultural Event this Friday, Nov. 30, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the McGinnis Center’s multipurpose room located at 301 Lowes St.
This event is a mini immersion into the Appalachian world, and will include food, music and discussion about relevant issues from the area. It is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about a part of the country that is often overlooked.
Stephen Mackell, a senior philosophy and economics major, is the president of Appalachia Club. He is deeply involved and has a great deal of passion for the region.
“It is a region close to where many of us grew up but so very far away when the lifestyles of families living there are compared to lifestyles most UD students are accustomed to,” Mackell said.
Mackell said that people have a general unawareness about the lifestyle in Appalachia and sophomore pre-medicine major Annie Haskins said she agrees.
“I know nearly nothing about the Appalachian region or the culture of its people even though I’ve heard of it before,” Haskins said. “I think students should take the time to understand people who are different than us.”
For students who want to learn more about the Appalachian lifestyle or are eager to get involved, there will be opportunities to do so at the event according to Mackell.
“There will be information about how students can get involved in experiencing the culture and people of Appalachia first hand,” he said. “In the spring there will be a break out trip as well as a few ‘plunge’ weekends to eastern Kentucky. Information about UDSAP (University of Dayton Summer Appalachia Program), the organization that sends a group of 15 UD students down to the region each year for a nine-week immersion and service experience, will also be available at the event Friday.”
Donny Rambacher, a 2012 UD alumnus and member of UDSAP believes that students should attend the Appalachia Cultural Event to learn more.
“It is a wonderful event that brings together amazing people for an even more amazing cause,” Rambacher said. “Informing others about the problems in our own backyard is essential.”
Brother Thomas Pieper of campus ministry who has traveled with UDSAP for over a decade said the event reflects the importance of the area’s culture.
“Music, food and culture are all important to the people in Appalachia because these things express who the people are and how they live daily life,” Pieper said. “The music expresses the needs, problems, joys and concerns of the people living in the hills. Appalachian foods are simple meals that reflect the gifts from their gardens and [show] that they are willing to share with anyone who is in need.”
The food may be simple but the issues are complex according to Mackell. Examples of these issues are mountain top removal coal mining and generational poverty.
Mackell offers a preview of the event’s discussion about generational poverty in Appalachia.
“It is a problem that persists in many different contexts throughout our country today,” he said. “In Appalachia there are few opportunities in the job market because of a disheartening industrial presence in the region that has led many families and young people to give up hope on ever getting ‘out’ of the cycle of poverty.
“Hopefully by attending the event Friday and others like it to come, UD students can learn a bit about both the beauty and the needs of the Appalachian region.”
For more information or questions about the event contact Mackell at email@example.com.