Uni to celebrate diversity with expanded cultural fair
Uni Gym was the place to be on May 18 as the school held a cultural fair to recognize and learn more about the diversity that makes up the Uni community. This year's fair will take place Friday from 10:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m., also in Uni Gym. Gargoyle photo (click to enlarge)
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 - 10:56pm
AFTER A SUCCESSFUL debut last May, the all-school cultural fair will return on Friday from 10:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. in Uni Gym. The fair will include the familiar lunch, music groups, and booths. But this year's efforts will go beyond a single day's event.
All throughout October, Uni will celebrate Multicultural Month. The Multicultural Parent Advisory Group and the school's minority student advocates are sponsoring other multicultural activities, such as a poster contest and a panel discussion.
The fair was created last year in a response to a series of comments to a Gargoyle editorial on diversity at Uni. The 2006-07 MSAs, headed by then-seniors Liz Reese and Sharajonnie Adams and advised by counselor Sam Smith, worked to create the inaugural event, which was held May 18.
AT A GLANCE
- When: 10:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. Friday
- Where: Uni Gym; also, Stoughton Street will be closed off for performances of African drums and Brazilian dance, as well as others
- What: This year's all-school cultural fair, with booths, food, music, and the theme "From Inequity to Social Justice: Developing a Uni-Vision"
- Why: To celebrate, recognize, and learn about Uni's diversity
- Audio slideshow: Last year's cultural fair
With funding from Student Council, the senior class is coordinating most of this year's event while MPAG directs the activities.
More than 30 booths at the fair will feature cultures from all over the world.
According to Uni parent Rita Black-Morocoima, director of the fair, people of the same cultural background will be grouped together. This year, the booths will focus more on the culture than food in an effort to teach students more.
“I want them to walk out not with just full bellies, but with a head filled with new knowledge of different countries and backgrounds,” Black said.
Others involved are excited about the events, which also include the closing of Stoughton Street for performances of African drums and Brazilian dance as well as other activities.
“I am looking forward to the African American and Middle Eastern booths,” said sophomore Rachel Harmon, one of this year's minority student advocates. “These booths look very exciting.”
Another notable change in this year’s program is the length of the fair. The time has been extended from 50 minutes to two hours.
“I think it’ll be good, because this year it will be more about the culture, even though there will still be food,” Harmon commented.
A design contest that expresses this year’s theme, “From Inequity to Social Justice: Developing a Uni-Vision,” was judged on Friday.
The top three winners of the contest will receive a $75, $50, or $25 gift card to a place of their choice. Junior Alan Liang won first place, junior Ben Daniels second, and senior Suran Yoo third.
The month of October will also include a panel discussion on Oct. 24, United Nations Day. Last year’s discussion was on the topic of privilege, featuring a student, a staff member, and guest speaker Kent Ono of the University of Illinois.
Black said the speakers this year will share more about their own experiences with cultural identity instead of lecturing students about it. According to Black, the panel will consist of a doctor, a dancer, a school principal, and a psychology professor of race and ethnicity.
What about after October? What can Uni expect in the way of multicultural activities?
“MSAs are interested in doing cultural celebrations and acknowledgements throughout the year,” said counselor Sam Smith.
This year’s MSAs include Harmon, senior Kumars Salehi, junior Jasmine Alvarado, and sophomore Katherine Allen.
According to Harmon, the MSAs are hoping among other things to attend a conference on diversity and minorities.
As for the cultural fair, Black said her main hope is for the Uni community to walk away educated about other cultures as well as to appreciate and love their own backgrounds.
“People can notice differences in backgrounds, cultures, religions, and learn from them; we hope people will learn to accept them all with open arms,” said Black. “Diversity is the spice of life!”
MORE ABOUT THIS YEAR'S CULTURAL FAIR
Cultures and countries to be represented:
- African American
- American Deaf Culture
- Costa Rican
- East Asian
- Islamic Calligraphy
- Middle Eastern
- Puerto Rican
Organizations to be represented:
- Center for African Studies
- Center for Asian and Pacific Studies
- Center for Global Studies
- Center for International Business Education and Research
- Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
- Center for Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
- European Union Center
- Intercultural Friendship Foundation — Turkey
- Multicultural Parent Advisory Group
- Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center
- United for Uganda