In the spirit of celebrating the nations, the annual Culture Fest brought international colors, foods and festivities to the campus on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Flags from Germany, Botswana, United States and a number of other nations decorated the sidewalks by the International Student Center a week prior to the event. The event itself took three months of planning and was a collaboration between the International Student Center, Campus Dining, Global Leadership Organization, Campus Operations and Student Associations as well as several other departments.
“It’s a huge event but the process is easy because we work very well,” said Director of the International Student Center Jessica Apolinario. “We are always trying to help students realize the diversity we have on campus. We are proud of every country. We are proud of everyone who has worked hard to get here.”
Memories were made with passports and exhibit tables
Upon arrival at the event, each student received a “passport” with questions about different countries and continents. The exhibition tables displayed artifacts such as instruments, books, hats, colorful prints and provided facts about the respective cultures for students to learn about. These included the Americas, Oceania, Asia, Africa and Europe. Those who were able to fill out all the answers and got their passports stamped had the opportunity to win a free t-shirt.
Some students waited as long as they needed to around the International Relations and Global U table to get their henna tattoos. Students also enjoyed taking pictures at the photo booth throughout the whole event.
There was food, fashion and a flag parade
A variety of food was served across the lawns to showcase different tastes from around the world. Popular dishes such as fish and chips from the UK, rice and tikka masala from India, plantain and jerk chicken from Jamaica were served. Apple crisp and ice cream were among this year’s choices of American dishes.
Additionally, over 20 nations were represented in the fashion parade. The audience got to hear exactly where the different attires were from. This included the gomesi from Uganda, the sari from India as well as African print outfits from Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, to name a few.
More than 100 countries are represented in the ORU student body. “The flag parade was special. I didn’t know we had so many countries here,” said Kate Wood, sophomore education major from Dallas, Texas.
“It was inclusive. I felt recognized when I saw my flag there.” said Desmond Nyoka, freshman accounting major from Zimbabwe.
There was music, and there was dancing.
The focus of the musical performances was on instructional learning and creating more time for students to get to know each other, dance and have fun.
“The African dance took me back home and I got to dance and feel the way I used to dance when I was home,” said Christian Buckman, a freshman early childhood education major from Ghana. The African Drum Circle led by the Student Music Therapy Association was a favorite from previous events and was also thoroughly enjoyed by a lot of the students this time around.
Sarah Thomas, a senior music therapy major led the circle and engaged with the students. “You could tell that they were really vibing. They were communicating non-verbally. We use a drum circle to communicate feelings without words,” said Thomas.
Michael Luna and Braden Higgs, both worship arts majors, expressed that they enjoyed being a part of the choir performance arranged by the Chamber Singers and the University Chorale.
“We spent the last few weeks working on the songs and getting them memorized,” explained Higgs. Their selections included, “We are More than Conquerors,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Praise His Holy Name.”
“At first everyone was listening while eating, but by the end it was cool to see everyone celebrating their own culture with each other,” said Higgs.
NuVoices crowned the event by creating a vibrant experience of praise and worship.
Until next year, au revoir, Culture Fest.