From a pepper-eating contest to a 10,000-pound crawfish boil, a lot’s happening this week at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette during Lagniappe and Diversity Week.
The UL-Lafayette Program Council hosts Lagniappe Week, an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to take a break before the stresses of finals week begin. It all leads up to the UL-Lafayette Super Weekend Celebration set for this weekend
Members of the UL-Lafayette community are encouraged to participate by canoe racing in Cypress Lake, taking the annual plummet into the swamp, eating crawfish at the Lagniappe boil, testing their palate in a pepper-eating contest or just hanging around to soak up the music and entertainment at Rock the Swamp.
Natalie Richard, the UL-Lafayette Program Council’s traditions committee chair, said she believes Lagniappe week events are important to the university community because it gives students, faculty and staff an opportunity to come together, have fun and celebrate the end of the semester and all of the community’s accomplishments.
“It’s important for us to highlight unique traditions of our university,” Richard said. “We’re the only university with a swamp and so we have traditions like canoe races and the swamp jump. It’s just one big hoorah before the end of the year.”
Lagniappe Week originally began in the ’60s, as an effort to give students a fun springtime alternative event after the university’s basketball team was suspended for giving scholarships to black student-athletes.
This year’s theme, “Crawfish for President,” has a presidential twist as each day of the week reflects a part of the campaign trail to the White House.
“This year’s theme is just kind of very relevant to what’s going on in our world,” Richard said. “It sets things apart from other years because elections only come once every four years.”
Students without a meal plan, faculty, staff and the community wanting to indulge in the Friday crawfish feast can purchase a ticket online at ullafayette.sodexomyway.com/shop/p/17655 or at the event, for $10 per person.
In addition to the Cajun celebration, the International Student Council invites the community to celebrate Diversity Week with the Multicultural Dance and Around the World in 7 Posts, Mr. and Ms. International Pageant and Diversity Night.
“Diversity Week, as the name goes, is a week full of fun activities and events that help students to learn about different cultures,” said Andrea Ferrão, vice president of the International Student Council. “The theme for this year is ‘What a Beautiful World.’ Having served as the voice of international students for several years, we have been able to advocate mutual understanding across different cultures, races and beliefs through events like these.”
Richard said many of the Lagniappe events were set out to complement the Diversity Week events, such as the multicultural party on Thursday, which will offer free dance lessons taught by the Indian, African and Latin student organizations.
In addition, large posters of the Seven Wonders of the World will be set up around campus as participants race to capture images with the banners as part of a diversity competition.
“We didn’t want to step on any toes with the two events being the same week,” Richard explained. “With the pageant, we wanted to host events that would not only promote the Diversity Week events, but also help people get there.”
For a full listing a Lagniappe Week events, visit upc.louisiana.edu/events-traditions/lagniappe-week.
For Diversity Week events, visit internationalaffairs.louisiana.edu.