Culture Fest brings diversity, draws large crowd

Students grab food at Culture Fest.

When students think of Culture Fest vibrant music, exotic food, and more cultural diversity than one could ask for come to mind.

This year’s Culture Fest received an even larger turn out than in the past.

“I think it’s great it’s different than last year,” said Joan Williams, director of Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity and head organizer of Culture Fest. “Last year we had over 300 students and this year we have a good number of students and I think that’s because of what we did last year.”

DJ for the night, Hunter Jackson, said he noticed the increase in attendees as well.

“Well its (festival turn out) awesome, it was great last year and I hope it’s just as good this year. But it looks like a bigger crowd already,” Jackson said.

Before the Culture Fest, ODIE threw the annual Multicultural Student Reception.

“We had the Multicultural Student Reception for about eight years and when I became director in 2013 I really wanted to do an event that really welcomed our students particularly to the diverse campus we have at UNA,” Williams said.

This is the second year ODIE has put on Culture Fest.

“I have been to Culture Fest (and Multicultural Student Reception) every year since I’ve been a student,” said senior Jasmine Redus. “I think Culture Fest benefits UNA because it promotes diversity with our international students.”

Senior Tucker Green also attended Culture Fest last year.

“I work in the Office of International Affairs, so this is my second year going to Culture Fest,” Green said. “It’s going pretty well, I think that Culture Fest is a way to show off our many different cultures here on campus and is also a way to learn of our diverse roots.”

Some students like freshman Tori Haynes and Junior Adam Netherton came out to try the foreign food offered.

“The food is what drew me into Culture Fest and the free stuff,” Haynes said.

Netherton also attended Culture Fest for the diverse cuisine.

“Lots of people to talk to and the food is really good,” Netherton said. “I think that Culture Fest sheds light on the different cultures and things you don’t know about those around you.”

Culture Fest brings students and the Florence community together, Jackson said.

“Culture Fest to me is like one movement that helps others understand the cultures that exist outside their own,” he said.

Williams expects students to leave Culture Fest with a desire to participate in the diverse organizations on campus.

“I hope it really has an impact on them (students) and wanting to learn more about other cultures, wanting to get involved in multi-cultural organizations because they are not just for the students that they represent,” Williams said.