Culture Fest, hosted by student life and MOSAIC, created an opportunity for homesick students to feel connected in their school community in the midst of a busy semester.
Culture Fest, known in previous years simply as “Fest,” has been revamped to become a space for students to orient themselves more with the student unions on campus, and understand what they can gain from these organizations.
The evening began with a social opportunity to visit tables hosted by MOSAIC, student unions such as the Native American Student Association and African Student Union and several Greek life groups. There were performances of spoken word and music by the Black Student Union, interactive dances with the Native American Student Association, songs sung by the Latinx Student Union and a performance from Krimson Kourts Incorporation closing out the event.
Many organizations present gave praise to student life assistant Gregory Abukar-Duru, who spearheaded the planning for Culture Fest this year. The new direction of the event can be attributed to his goal of prioritizing student union involvement and culture during homecoming festivities.
“I wanted to make it accessible for freshman and all students to come up here, on a Friday when there’s no classes from 8-10 pm, two hours out of their night,” Abukar-Duru said. “They can go home and chill afterward and say ‘wow, I met people and got a few numbers … I didn’t have to skip class to get it.’”
Throughout the event, each group emphasized the importance of connecting with student unions.They illustrated that a sense of belonging is invaluable to a student attending UCCS, and access to student unions that represent identity foster those feelings.
“Culture isn’t just heritage, but community,” said MOSAIC coordinator Alé Ruiz, while discussing the necessity of culture on campus. According to Ruiz, one of the best outcomes from Culture Fest is the ability for students to come away understanding that every culture is wanted and accepted at UCCS, and for students to have a chance to build their community here.
Native American Student Association president Shundeen Martin made it clear how beneficial it can be for any student to find community. “It’s a grounding process to recognize wherever you’re from. It connects you to a sense of purpose and where you came from before,” she said.
Martin went on to encourage all students to make time for themselves and discover more about who they are and thus, their larger school community.
Students interact with the African Student Association at Culture Fest. Photo by Lillian Davis.