MAC/SAC celebrates Mardi Gras with Carnaval activities


Madeleine Plourde

(Left to right) Chris Streibech, Ethan Nannen, Adam Schlereth and Riley Heeden create Carnaval masks while at the Grotto Commons.

Madeleine Plourde, Contributing Writer

MAC/SAC celebrates Mardi Gras with Carnaval activities A week rarely goes by at Mercyhurst without something going on around campus and, in a large part, this is thanks to the Multicultural Activities Council and Student Activities Council, better known as MAC/SAC.

On Feb. 20, students participated in the Carnaval event. Always eager to find new ways to get people involved around campus, MAC/SAC programmers, Eden Maynard and Darby Shafron worked together to plan this event.

Maynard says it was inspired by Mardi Gras which happened on Feb. 16, as well as by the movie “Rio.” In the movie there is a holiday similar to Mardi Gras.

“It’s a very colorful and exciting holiday with a lot of street food, singing, dancing and other traditional events,” Maynard said.

Seeking to combine these ideas with Mardi Gras and “Rio,” the event kicked off with a Brazilian themed dinner at Grotto Commons at 6 p.m.

The dinner menu consisted of multiple unique dishes including, but not limited to, coconut rice, a tropical pasta bake, island style fruit salad and cheese filled torte. In addition, students were offered feijoada, a black bean and pork stew, and kibe, Brazilian-style rice and beef patties.

Meanwhile, at the dessert station one could find delicious treats following the Brazilian theme such as sweet rice pudding and rich chocolate truffles.

Combined, these dishes provided students with a filling and delicious meal while allowing them to get a taste of another culture. At the entrance to the Grotto dining hall students could pick up colorful necklaces and craft supplies for Mardi Gras-type masks, each individually packaged for convenience and safety reasons.

After the dinner, students headed over to the Student Union where they enjoyed the movie “Rio”, set in Rio de Janeiro, about the life and adventures of the vibrantly blue macaw, Blu, whose biggest flaw is his humiliating inability to fly. During the movie, students were able to assemble the masks, complete with bright colors, feathers and shiny stickers.

During this time, students were also able to converse a bit and get to know each other, even just briefly. Of course, with the persistent coronavirus circulating our world, students were socially distanced and wearing masks throughout the event.

With all the precautions related to COVID-19 such as contact tracing, social distancing and other obstacles, in-person events have required a bit of outof-the-box thinking

“My personal [opinion] on this event is it is a fantastic idea and I am very excited to be planning this for the students here at Mercyhurst,” said Maynard. “Regardless of the current extra precaution stage we are in, Darby and I have done our best so that we can make this a fun, diverse and safe event for everyone to be able to participate in, either in person or from peoples’ homes or dorms.”

With so much of the world online now, multiple attendees remarked that they appreciated being able to go somewhere and see people in real life during the event. It adds a much-needed element, yet as Maynard explained, in order to make it comfortable and accessible for all people there was not only an in-person option, but also a Zoom option for the Carnaval.

Overall, the night was a success, bringing students together for some good cultural food, a fun activity, an enjoyable movie and simply another opportunity to see and talk to one another.