The weekend is in sight, Cornellians! Rather than waste time wondering what you’ll be doing this weekend, take my advice and stop by the first ever Culture Fest in Barton Hall. Sponsored by ALANA Intercultural Board, Mayor Potencial, Office of Student and Campus Life, International Student Union, Cornell University Class Councils, HAVEN, and the Dyson Business Minors Program, it promises to be a great time.

Culture Fest will feature tons of participating organizations, and promises free food from a wide range of cultures, an art show, a slew of performances from your favorite campus groups, a photo booth, and a plethora of booths to visit.

The guaranteed good time aside, it’s especially important to come together as a campus and celebrate our diversity in light of recent events. Says Lovette Ekwebelem ’18, “This year was chosen as the year for Culture Fest because people felt a different air on campus last semester-one mixed with anxiety and fear. Multiple events happened on campus and in our country that made students feel unsafe. Posters filled with hatred plastered the walls we were taught in. Fellow students openly expressed their wants for division from their peers. Students were worrying about whether they would even be able to stay at Cornell for another semester due to their citizenship status. In December of last semester, in ALANA’s monthly State of the Union meeting, students (graduates and undergraduates) expressed this need to bring a sense of unity and celebration of multiculturalism to the campus. Because of this, ALANA and many student leaders on campus came together to present the idea of Culture Fest to VP Lombardi and Vijay Pendakur in December. Since then, we’ve gotten immense support from the Dean of Students Office, and they helped us to launch the idea this semester.”

When asked specifically about the influence of more recent events in Collegetown on Culture Fest, her answer is simple. “The events in Collegetown were shocking and heartbreaking because who really wants to see the continued acts of violence in our community? These events definitely motivated our efforts to make Culture Fest the best it can be. They further encouraged us and reminded us why Culture Fest needs to happen. This is a solution that is outside the continuous conversation and dialogues that typically follow these events.”

That being said, she is quick to emphasize that planning Culture Fest was an amazing, extremely collaborative experience. “I’ve learned the sheer importance and vitality behind the execution of this event. I learned that so many people have been waiting for something like this, and I feel honored to have  been able to take part in the making of it.”

While food and entertainment are powerful motivators, Culture Fest is about so much more than that. Lovette promises that the event will offer “new and exciting experiences and interactions that people will cherish, and good vibes that will hopefully remain with people long after the event.” Come be a part of something special, and let’s show some campus-wide unity. 

See you Sunday March 25th from 1-4 in Barton Hall!