The ringing of a bagpipe filled the white tent that occupied the Central Mall September 13 as students gathered to celebrate the international student body at the University.
Culture Fest is a celebration of international music, dance, and food representing the diversity found on campus. Plates were piled high with pierogies from Poland, sushi from Japan, kabsa from Saudi Arabia, potatoes from Peru, and churros from Mexico.
“There’s enough food here to feed 2,500,” said Sangita Gosalia, director of campus engagement for the Center for International Programs. According to Gosalia, planning for Culture Fest begins during spring semester because it involves so many different organizations such as Dining Services, Housing and Residence Life, Campus Recreation, SGA, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and more.
After the bagpipes ceased, a graduate student sang songs in three different languages (Bengali English, and Hindi), and students from Puerto Rico taught the audience how to dance the salsa.
“It’s just fun to celebrate with different people,” sophomore Gianna Pou, who lives in the global living learning community, said. “I’m from Puerto Rico but there are students from Germany, South Africa, China and other countries living together. It’s a great way to make friends.”
While people were enjoying their food, Carlos Stewart, assistant director of student development in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, challenged students to get on stage and say where they are from and what they think culture is in exchange for a free T-shirt — the ultimate prize for college students. Answers ranged from getting to know people of other cultures to actually understanding other cultures.
Junior Cheyenne Newman lives with students from China and Japan and says that Culture Fest is her favorite event on campus. “I love when my roommates can show me things from their home,” Newman said. “They get so excited and it’s great to be able to share those experiences with them.”