Anime Night: Inclusion on every level

Zane Turner, Volunteer Writer

As the Coronavirus has limited the normal programs across campus, one program has risen above the ashes: Anime Night.

Anime Night is a Social Inclusion led program started by Butler Cain, the chair of the Department of Communications and Andrea Hunt, the director of the Mitchell West Center for Social Inclusion. 

It is where students can get together and watch anime from across the world. It originally started as a way for international students to be more involved in the programs at UNA, but has blossomed into more than that as students from across campus are coming to Anime Night. 

Featuring such shows as “Attack on Titan,” and “Japan Sinks,” the quality of content offered by this night is unquestionable, as Cain and Hunt choose the anime. They also take recommendations from the student body. 

There is also an educational element to it, as Cain leads a discussion into the elements of the anime as soon as it is finished. 

This has been one of the only ways to escape the dorm during this semester, but the success of this night is apparent and has larger plans to continue into later semesters.

“We were trying to find ways to engage our international students,” said Hunt. “We were trying to look outside of the box to do that, and anime is global and intercultural and we thought this would be a way to engage students in a different way.” 

Look outside of the box they did, as Anime is one of the premiere international ways of entertainment, and to see it sponsored by the University of North Alabama is something different. 

Not only does it prove how on top of modern culture the University is, but how it is actively trying to include every student no matter race, ethnicity or nationality.

“We are trying to show something with elements of different cultures in it, as some of the anime is in different languages and subtitled in English,” said Hunt. “For our international students, they get to hear things in their native language, they get to see content that’s developed by animators and producers that are from their home country.”

This effort by  Hunt and Cain shows the passion they have for their jobs as they are willing to go out of their way to do this for a group of students. 

As to be separated from the country where you have no family and people don’t speak your language can be alienating, and can isolate a student from the rest of the student body. There does need to be lengths taken to make these students feel comfortable and at home where they will be staying for the next four years. 

If a student is not comfortable in their environment, their mental health can take a sudden plunge, resulting in poorer grades and less of an effort to be a part of the university. 

For the university to take steps to make sure this does not happen and give the international students the ability to experience a piece of their own culture can be a gamechanger for some

“I really enjoyed the multicultural aesthetic of the night, as well as the effort that everyone put in to get to know each other, everyone was walking around talking to each other after it was over getting to know each other,” said Kaly Holman, a regular at Anime Night. 

The night seems to promote a sense of friendliness as students are coming together and getting to know each other based on this collective hobby. 

As some international students may be struggling to make friends this can provide a common factor to build off of. As well as that the collective discussion seems to promote intelligent conversation in the people there, as they are all talking about something they may have already had a passion for or have a newfound passion for.

“We are hoping to build up a little bit of community here on campus, and we want to do our part in helping to create a positive community for anyone who wants to come participate in anime night or anything else we do,” said Cain. 

Cain and Hunt have founded something that could have more significance than people realize, it is obvious this is more than just Anime Night for the people involved, it is a way to create a community where there hasn’t been before. 

To create friendships in a time when it is hard to form friendships and to spread multiculturalism that may not have been seen by many. It gives a sense of comfortability in maybe an otherwise uncomfortable environment. 

The next Anime Night is on Halloween, where they will be having a special Halloween themed anime night at the Communications Building at 4 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come and experience this new, up and coming program.