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Students learn diversity at Culture Fest

November 12, 2009

Every year, the Asian American Students Association (AASA) hosts and coordinates Culture Fest, a celebration of diversity, showing performances and a fashion show of the various cultures represented on campus.

“The importance of this event is that it allows our campus and community to be more aware of the different cultures and ethnicities that are a part of their environment,” AASA President Bhao Nhiang Thao said. “Culture Fest will also help people learn more about themselves and others as they discover the diversity around them.”

Culture Fest, which consisted of performances such as dances, singing, a play, spoken word and a fashion show, took place Wednesday in the North Hall auditorium.

This year the event held a special meaning, following the racist graffiti found on campus recently. It holds special significance, since nearly all the participants in the event are members of AASA or Black Student Union, the two racial groups that were specifically targeted in the threatening graffiti.

“Some people didn’t want to have this event after the vandalism, but it’s important to make a stand and show that we’re not afraid and that we must promote diversity,” AASA Secretary Vieng Chang said.

Culture Fest represents a wide variety of cultures, according to Chang, who is coordinating the fashion show. The show will feature the fashions of Hmong, Chinese, Laotian and Thai cultures.

“Culture Fest, following the hate-filled vandalism on campus, I feel, is a powerful way of showing and embracing diversity,” Thao said.

The event is of big importance, because it is good to be informed about other cultures, according to Megan O’Donovan, who works as the public relations for AASA. She said that the main duty for Culture Fest is to open up the community to different artists and cultures.

Everyone in AASA has been working very hard all semester, putting Culture Fest together, according to O’Donovan.

“It’ll be nice to see all our hard work come together,” O’Donovan said.

The Black Student Union (BSU) is also taking part in the cultural festivities and doing a spoken word performance. The performance will be a combined spoken word piece that will bounce around from person to person talking about where they’re from, according to BSU member Nikki Shonoiki.

“After the events that took place November second, this year’s Culture Fest is a very important opportunity to celebrate diversity and show support,” Shonoiki said.

“Each year the members of AASA put a lot of hard work into making Culture Fest a good turn out and this year we are looking for a lot of support from our fellow students, the University and the community,” Thao said. “We, AASA, hope that this year will be a good turn out as the campus and the community continue to promote diversity and inclusiveness.”