Students Explore Cultures at Seventh Annual Diversity Festival
Students are exploring different cultures, races, and ethnicities at the seventh annual Diversity Festival. The festival began in mid-September and runs through mid-October.
The festival is co-sponsored by Multicultural and International Student Programs and Hispanic Outreach. It originally began as a film festival, but has expanded to include more hands-on activities. The goal is to teach students about different people and cultures.
“On a daily basis, you don’t get to learn these things. Students are not looking this up or learning about this if we don’t put it out there for them,” said Reyna Logsdon, Director of Hispanic Outreach.
The festival opened on September 13 with the Spanish Fiesta, which celebrated traditions from various Hispanic countries. Students flocked to Regina Court to listen to Spanish music, learn how to salsa dance, and sample food from local vendors, such as Espinoza Deli, which served up authentic Mexican cuisine.
This was the first year the Diversity Festival held the Spanish Fiesta, and Logsdon noted that students were excited to experience new cultures. Next year, they hope to make it a larger event.
The festival continued on September 19 with a showing of “Underwater Dreams,” a documentary about four high school students whose parents were undocumented immigrants. In 2004, they built a robot, entered a college-level underwater robotics competition, and won first place, beating out prestigious schools like MIT. However, the film also demonstrated how it was difficult for them to go to college and obtain financial aid.
Logsdon said that she chose the film because it was related to engineering, a popular field at King’s. It also addressed many of the struggles undocumented students face.
“I wanted students to see how undocumented students from immigrant families can also accomplish things and how it’s not as easy to get a higher education,” she said. “I think that it is aligned with the current events.”
“We actually have students on campus here that are going through the same thing,” she added.
On September 26, the Diversity Festival presented “Race,” a film about Jesse Owens, an African American runner who won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. It depicts how Owens overcame racism, even as he competed in Nazi Germany.
“It’s a movie that’s more up-to-date, a movie that I feel like would capture the students’ attention,” Jasmine Tabron, Director of Multicultural and International Student Programs, said.
The Diversity Festival will continue with the Ultimate Flag Challenge. The Multicultural and International Club will display flags from around the world, and students can match them to their country. The Ultimate Flag Challenge begins at 11 a.m. on October 4 in the Campus Center lobby.
The festival will conclude with the Walk Around the World activity, which will feature cultural presentations and food from about 18 different countries. Walk Around the World will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 10 in the Campus Center lobby.
“Be open-minded to learn something new,” Tabron encouraged. “Be open-minded to learn something that might challenge something that you already thought. Be ready to meet some new people and have a good time.”