(Photo courtesy By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17124336) “An example of henna. The kind done at the event will likely be on hands.”
The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) hosts a cultural festival annually. This March is the first year they are hosting the 2023 Cultural Fair in partnership with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). The event will be on March 1st from 6-8:30 p.m. in the UCrossing lobby.
According to the event calendar, there will be dancing, music, international food, board games and henna. Daniela Salinas Camacho, a junior Applied Biomedical Sciences major who works in the OMA office, says she’s looking forward to the food and the henna. She says, “I am well aware of foods from Mexico and Venezuela and Latin America because I am from there, but I’m also interested in tasting flavors from different parts of the world.”
Ijébùsónma Agundu, a graduate fellow working at the OMA office, says, “We’ll be having a lot of tabling from different clubs, different cultural clubs. And one thing I love is we’re going to have henna. We’re also going to have a lot of multicultural trivia questions with prizes. We’re also going to have a lot of cultural dances from White Lotus Group. We also have Cambodian association groups performing, it’s going to be such an incredible opportunity to support and also like celebrate different cultures because that’s like what the whole idea was with the ISSO office and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.”
The lineup for what’s at the event can still change because students who want to get involved as performers or for tabling purposes can reach out to Agundu, or Maria McDuffie Clark, assistant director of OMA, by Wednesday, February 22nd. Performers are encouraged to sign up regardless of whether their performance has traditional cultural roots. “It can be cultural or it can be just a way of expressing oneself so it doesn’t necessarily need to be tied into a tradition,” Salinas Camacho said. Agundu said, “We want to know more about our students and we want to offer spaces so that our students can express themselves.” It’s free to sign up to set up a table or to perform.
Agundu says her favorite part of the event planing so far is that “…people are willing to perform. Some of them said yes, even with the two week deadline or two weeks time notice. So it’s really great to just have people who are willing to be proud of their culture and show us why they’re proud.”
This is an event to celebrate the global cultures of students who attend UMass Lowell. Agundu says, “We support international students. We make sure that they also feel very safe. Feel like they’re a part of something. So that’s why, like, this cultural festival is just here to bring so many different like-minded students together and it’s free for everyone. It’s open to everyone. We want people to come and have a great time. We want people to just, like, be immersed in the different cultures, we’re going to have an incredible MC [Anna, the current year’s class president]. So it’s going to be a great time. Which I’m excited about.”