Multicultural Affair, Hispanic Heritage Month look to break down cultural barriers

Sept. 14, 2015

April Wefler
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Dragon dances, African soul drumming and opportunities for people to share their cultures all have one event in common: the Multicultural Affair.

Hosted by MOSAIC, the annual event will be held Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Berger Hall.

“I love how (the Multicultural Affair) takes seemingly different cultures and people, puts them in one space and gives them an opportunity to celebrate their differences,” said Shelby Kindell, MOSAIC office manager.

“It’s one of those events that you may not hear a lot about it beforehand, but then out of nowhere, there’s 200 students that show up.”

The Multicultural Affair started three years ago as an outlet for international and first generation students to inform other students about their culture.

“Everybody’s got a culture they’re proud of, and we wanted to give people an opportunity to share it,” said Anthony Cordova, director of MOSAIC.

“It’s an informal and laid-back space for people to examine, engage with and understand cultures that are external to their own, which isn’t something that we normally get to do in a non-hostile environment,” Kindell said.

“I think it’s so fantastic just to see so many different students from so many different backgrounds and identities really engaging with those students that are different than them.”

The event used to be once a semester but was changed to a yearly fair to emphasize its uniqueness.

Brian Garris, a graduate student in student affairs in higher education and MOSAIC office assistant, has attended the Multicultural Affair in the past.

“I liked how it was a conversational piece. It got people talking and got them introduced to other ways of thinking and other cultures. Everyone seemed really excited about it,” Garris said.

Hana Shariff, a junior film major, said she’s looking forward to the event.

“I’m really excited because I’ve never been to Multicultural Affair before. I’m excited to see a coming-together of people from different places and experience each other’s history,” Shariff said.

This year, the Multicultural Affair will include groups and organizations such as the Saudi Club, the Black Student Union, Spectrum, the Lindy Lions and the Wellness Center, among others.

Kindell said there will be catering by La Casita and performances by Soul Rhythm African Drumming and the Lindy Lions. Additionally, Kindell said the Indian Student Alliance usually does henna.

Multicultural Affair serves as the kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. MOSAIC has two events planned for Hispanic Heritage Month: “What’s in the Salsa?” and “Lezberados.”

“What’s in the Salsa?” is on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in University Center room 302 and features a panel facilitated by Andrea Herrera, Women’s and Ethnic Studies professor, on what it’s like growing up Hispanic. The event also has a Q-and-A session at the end.

“Lezberados,” Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in Berger Hall, serves as the end of Hispanic Heritage Month and the beginning of OUTober. The event features two female comedians, one Cuban and one Chicana, who identify as LGBT.