New R.I.C.E. club promotes diversity and inclusivity

R.I.C.E.+Club+was+formed+to+focus+on+forming+bonds+between+people.+R.I.C.E.+stands+for+Racial+Integra-+tion+and+Cultural+Enrichment.

Carolyn Hauschild

R.I.C.E. Club was formed to focus on forming bonds between people. R.I.C.E. stands for Racial Integra- tion and Cultural Enrichment.

Gabriel Hathaway, Editor-in-Chief

The brand new R.I.C.E. club has sprung up this semester to challenge the reign of Potato Club, established last fall. 

The food-based club, R.I.C.E. club, also has a cultural enrichment bent that the president, second-year student Daniel Bui, hopes can break down barriers and bring people together.

“Food is a great way to connect cultures, it really is,” Bui said. 

R.I.C.E. is an acronym for “Racial Integration and Cultural Enrichment,” and Bui hopes this club can be a safe place for students to ask questions and learn about others’ cultures.

“I have noticed, just from my few years of living, that people tend to avoid other people that they define as different from them…this club will hopefully give people a place to learn and give people a place to ask questions about different cultures and not feel afraid to learn and interact with people,” Bui said.  

This club is helmed by a board of first and second year students primarily from Lakeville, Minn. R.I.C.E. club has been meeting in Maxwell 257 on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. and has already had two informational meetings. 

When Bui first started to think about creating R.I.C.E. club, it was more as a fun joke, like how Potato club started. But the more he thought about the club and campus culture, Bui wanted to make the club into something bigger that could bring students together.     

“I do feel there is some isolation and some cliquiness in this school and that is possibly something that factors into people transferring and deciding to learn elsewhere,” Bui stated.

Bui hopes R.I.C.E. club can act as a bridge between different diversity clubs like HASA and ASN and the broader Winona State University community. 

The RICE club got together on Tuesday, October 11th for their second-ever meeting of the year. Pictured left to right are officers Rachel Schlauch, Ben Earley, Daniel Bui, Erik Wagner, and Isabelle Leutbounshou. (Carolyn Hauschild)

Miho Nagai, a professor in the Global Studies & World Languages department, is the R.I.C.E club’s faculty advisor. Nagai first met Bui when he took one of her classes last semester. Nagai spoke highly of Bui and commented that he was a good leader and teacher in her class.  

“Earlier this semester [Bui] came to me and talked about his idea, and I thought that this is great!” Nagai said. “It sounds like a  really diverse [club], appreciating the diverse community and student members.”

Nagai went on, stating her hopes for R.I.C.E. club. 

“I am hoping that this club will affect the student population nicely so that they can join and embrace their own culture and language, it doesn’t matter whether they are American, or Japanese, or Chinese, or Asian American, or other people, I just hope that they get together and share their knowledge and experience and have fun,” Nagai said.

Bui looks forward to working with Chartwells to create different cultural dishes for the club as well as starting beef with the Potato club and hosting friendly competitions. Those interested in joining R.I.C.E. club can email Bui at [email protected] or their club email, [email protected] and follow their Instagram at wsu_riceclub.  

Bui stated that R.I.C.E. club is for anyone and everyone. Particularly, Bui urged people who tend to stick with the same people to extend their boundaries and meet new people by joining the club. 

“I feel like a lot of people only really get to express their culture and their diversities within their own group and I hope this club can give them a chance to do that outside of that small group,” Bui said.