Club Spotlight: FINEST

Club Spotlight: FINEST

If you are a Filipino or someone who is interested in learning about Filipino culture, then NJIT’s Filipinos In Newark Engaging in Sociocultural Traditions (FINEST) club may be a home for you. FINEST helps spread knowledge about the different cultural aspects of the Philippines, such as food, music, history, dance and language. FINEST is not just recognized among NJIT but is also a part of the large Filipino organization Filipino Intercollegiate Network Dialogue. This organization runs across the east coast and helps Filipinos to connect more easily. 

General body meetings are typically held in room 204 of the Central King Building on Wednesdays from 2:30 – 3:50 p.m.  

For FINEST, the biggest time of the year is “Reign or Shine”. “Reign or Shine” is an annual dance showcase and competition of some of the most talented dance teams in the NJ/NYC area. A total of 14 “Reign or Shines” have been hosted so far. Other big events that FINEST partakes in are FIND specific events, where the focus is on celebrating and cherishing Filipino culture with other Filipino organizations. 

Besides the bigger events, the club loves to also host other events that help bring its members together. Just this college year alone, the club hosted and co-hosted events including: a beach meetup day, karaoke night, cooking night and an ice-skating.  

If you love gaming, FINEST is a perfect place for you. The club is full of people who enjoy gaming as a hobby and love games such Super Smash Bros, Valorant, Apex Legends, Dungeons & Dragons and so on. The club even loves to host gaming related events on a regular basis, such as tournaments and game nights. 

Julia-Marie Guinto, a third-year Human-Computer Interactions major at NJIT, is the 2021-2022 co-president of FINEST. She believes FINEST is one of the most welcoming organizations on campus. “Regardless of ethnicity, everyone welcomes anyone with open arms. We honestly have so much fun together while learning and experiencing aspects of Filipino culture.” she describes. She also describes some of the reasons she enjoys FINEST as an organization. “From my experiences of being in FINEST, I have interacted with so many people that are not Filipino, but wanted to join and learn about everything we have to offer. As the co-president, I am most proud of when I see our general body bond with each other over cultural and non-cultural things, like sports, video games, or school. FINEST has provided a safe space for many, including me.” 

Sean Barlisan, a Computer Engineering major at NJIT, is the 2021-2022 vice president of the club. He talks about how he wanted to join the club because he wanted to step out of his comfort zone and be more active with others. “I noticed NJIT had plenty of cultural clubs, with a major one being MSA. I looked into one about Filipino culture, and then I came across FINEST,” he explains. One of his favorite parts of the club is the basement corner of the Campus Center, located just outside the FINEST club room. This “corner” that he talks about is typically occupied by other FINEST members that unwind there during their personal downtimes. Sean mentions how this is one of his go to places when he is not busy and just wants to relieve stress. He explains that “It is the one place I go to when I do not have classes. I just relax, do work and talk to some amazing friends that I have made as a result of this club”. He also loved Reign or Shine, an event that became one of his most memorable things about the club. Sean felt that it was great seeing dance teams from all around much of the east coast participate and demonstrate their talents. 

Patrick Salas, a senior Mechanical Engineering major and the 2021-2022 events coordinator of FINEST, had similar thoughts to share. For him, the club was initially a way to make friends and pass the time, but he never expected it to become such a meaningful part of him and his college experience.  Like Sean, one of his most memorable memories relating to FINEST was the annual “Reign or Shine” event. 

While he may be in his final year at NJIT, Salas is still excited to see where the club heads to in the future. He explains how in his years with the club, even as people come and go, the spirit and purpose of the club has always remained in place. 

If you are interested in learning about Filipino culture, do not hesitate to join. Anyone is welcome, regardless of nationality or ethnicity.  

Feel free to join the official Discord for more information at: https://discord.gg/6xuRVVrT59

About The Author

Nicholas Merlino

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