Cultural groups and environmental clubs alike presented at Worldfest in the Student Union on Saturday, Nov. 2. The event was run by UConn’s International Student and Scholar Services and had an environmentally-focused theme. Photos by Maggie Chafouleas / The Daily Campus.
On Saturday, hundreds of UConn students, staff and local residents celebrated the university’s immense diversity at this year’s Worldfest. Taking place in the Student Union ballroom, this year’s event was titled, “Worldfest 2019: Worlfest Goes Green!,” a nod to the work UConn’s number of cultural organizations have done and are doing towards bettering the environment.
Over a dozen booths representing different cultural organizations, campus political action groups and members of the community just wanting to promote their homeland were showcased on Saturday, from the International Christian Fellowship to the Spring Valley Farm. Attendees could visit every booth (with signatory proof) for the opportunity to win a prize.
As people made their way from booth to booth, some paused to appreciate the numerous performers, 17 in total. Dance groups, musical artists and even martial arts showcases brought light to the ballroom stage over the course of the three-hour event, each earning massive cheers from the crowd.
Non-UConn students were more than eager to share their joy of representing their culture with the community.
“It was great to experience Worldfest and meet different cultural groups,” said Siyanda Ntlabathi, a visiting scholar from Eastern Cape, South Africa who was helping to man the South African booth. “We had a wild experience at UConn – it’s a very big campus. Meeting different multicultural groups at the Worldfest was very good.”
Some groups shared their solidarity with the message of this year’s Worldfest. “QAA (Queer Asians and Allies) is proud to represent at Worldfest this year,” said fifth-semester business managment major Esther Huang. “Climate change is truly a social justice priority for everyone. We thank UConn for giving us this opportunity today.”
Other groups mentioned specific examples on how climate change will wreak havoc on their homelands, as well as the political intersectionalities that come into play.
“Tibet is a country that is currently occupied by the Chinese government, and right now what we’re shining a light on is the climate crisis in the country,” said seventh-semester history major Tenzin Miglay of the Tibetan Interest Association. “Tibet provides fresh water for about two billion people in Asia. Currently, what is happening is that Tibet is warming at three times the rate of the rest of the world… It’s primarily caused by worsening of the climate crisis, similar to how the Amazon Rainforest is disappearing…Tibetans have been protecting their land for millennia, but with the Chinese invasion…the further industrialization of Tibet is greatly harming the environment.”
UConn is far from a monolith; if it was, I and all of my friends simply wouldn’t be here. Saturday’s Worldfest displayed how groups from every corner of the globe come together to turn this piece of northeastern Connecticut farmland into home.
Daniel Cohn is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.