BSU and MELT Cultural Appropriation Halloween Costume Event 


Hannah Kramer, Staff Writer

Ever dressed as a ‘Indian’, or wore a cheongsam for Halloween?  Those costumes along with others may be considered unacceptable. Last Thursday, October 11th, MELT and BSU hosted an event that many students attended in the Forum room 101. The event, Cultural Appropriation, centered around Halloween costumes.  

M.E.L.T., the Multicultural Engagement Leadership Team at Buena Vista University serves as the executive student committee within the Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME). M.E.L.T. is made up of Multicultural Scholars and students here at BVU that have a passion for making multiculturalism more evident here on campus. MELT assists the OME by participating in developing and implementing events organized by the OME on campus. MELT also collaborates with other student organizations to help with programs and activities. Commitment and dedication are required for the team to function effectively. The basic requirements for joining are leadership skills, minimum GPA of 2.5, experiences and commitments to inclusivity, and service. 

BSU, the Black Student Union, is an organization here on BVU’s campus. BSU’s purpose is to expand black culture on campus through education and programming.  BSU’s goal is to increase black student involvement on campus, set precedence of success for black students, enhance social experience, create tradition of events, educate the BVU community, have black students value themselves and their culture, and bring awareness to the social justice issues that affect minority communities.  

While there are many black students in the BSU, the group is open to anyone and everyone on campus regardless of their ethnicity or race. They promote inclusion and are open to anyone who is willing to join their dialogue.  

Together BSU and MELT hosted the Cultural Appropriation event here on campus. The purpose of the event was to ensure students here at BVU know what Halloween costumes are acceptable or unacceptable.  

Cultural appropriation is essentially the idea of taking elements of someone’s culture without permission typically. On Halloween, people dress up as another person from another culture and it can dehumanize the other person. It compares that other person’s culture to a typical Halloween costume, which can be offensive.  

Some example of Halloween costumes that are considered unacceptable are Pocahontas, samurai warriors, geisha girls, and Eskimos.  

Jhareese Walker, vice president of the BSU, says they had a good turnout for the event and says the event went really well.  

“My favorite thing about the event was the videos that were shown about how certain people from different cultures felt when their culture was being appropriated during Halloween,” says Walker, “ I believe these videos improved everyone’s awareness of what cultural appropriation is and the emotional effects of it on people.”  

This Halloween, if you’re unsure about the costumes you have chosen, just ask someone. Acceptable costume choices to choose from could be a ladybug, a Starbucks cup, a ghost, or Mr. Incredible.