From delicious food to cultural dances, this year’s Culture Fest collected the experiences of various cultures on campus into one event.
“I’m really excited to present a united front,” says Prabhjot Virk, senior and president of Horizons International, which hosts the Culture Fest.
Virk points out that the flag ceremony at the beginning of the Culture Fest was a visual representation of the unity she wanted to express with the event. Students marched into the Benes Rooms, carrying flags and dressed in traditional attire from their countries’ cultures.
“Every flag represents someone’s story,” says Dalia Lorenzo. “That was the most beautiful thing to me.” Lorenzo is a freshman and treasurer of Viva Latin America as well as a participant in Rafiki wa Africa’s dance performance in the Culture Fest.
After the students marched in, Chaplain Jon Powers read a prayer that also focused on unity. Then the groups began performing.
“It’s a great chance for all of the OWU community to come together and not only express their culture, but also learn about other cultures they may not otherwise have time to learn about,” says Thomas Liwosz ’14, president of Talk to the Hand, Ohio Wesleyan’s American Sign Language club.
The performances ranged from poetry readings to signing “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” to a Bollywood version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”
One performance spoke especially to unity. Two women recited a poem in parts, each shouting that their group (LGBT and African Americans) is the most oppressed and deserves more help and sympathy. As the poem progressed, after screaming over one another, they came to realize that they had the same problems and should work together as one.
This connected well to the theme of unity for the Culture Fest because they realized that though they had different histories, they also had similarities.
Each performance had a distinct energy, but they fit together under the theme of unity, with the groups all bowing together after the performances were over.
“It made me feel glad that people saw these dances and these clubs come out and all be as one,” Lorenzo says.
Virk shares that since her freshman year, attendance at the Culture Fest has increased. From her freshman year to her junior year attendance went from roughly 300 people to approximately 600.
“I’ve gone all four years and I think the event’s only gotten bigger and better,” Liwosz adds.
“I’ll have people come up, whom I’ve never talked to on campus, and ask what it’s like in India,” says Virk.
Lorenzo adds that she was especially surprised with the performance of Talk to the Hand, because she had not previously known about the club’s existence. “Culture Fest gave various groups on campus the chance to be seen, and gave other people the opportunity to learn about them and possibly join a new club.”
Photos by LaRae Scheurell