Unity Through Diversity: USG’s Cultural Fair 

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Though we are fast approaching the end of the 2021-2022 school year, there are still a number of events and opportunities in these final few days. 

One of these events is USG’s Cultural Fair. 

This Friday, April 29 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Great Lawn behind Wilbur Cross, will be one of the most collaborative, synergetic events of the entire year. The Cultural Fair brings together not one, not two, not three, but seven of the cultural centers and programs that call UConn home. 

In anticipation of this major event, The Daily Campus was lucky enough to speak with Josianne Hamilton, the chief diversity officer of Undergraduate Student Government. 

“The cultural fair was conceptualized very late,” said Hamilton. “I got the idea when I became CDO (only a couple of months ago) and Neha jumped at the idea to collaborate. We consider this to be a test run for hopefully an ongoing initiative. To organize the event, we spoke to each cultural center individually and got their input on what type of foods, trivia questions, and prizes would best represent them. We then met up with a small group of USG representatives (Marissa, Aanya, and Karen), and got to work.” 

There will be seven cultural centers and programs in attendance: the Rainbow Center, the African American Cultural Center, the Native American Cultural Programs, the Middle Eastern Cultural Programs, the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center and the Women’s Center. 

The Rainbow Center, under the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, works on community-building and advocating for our campus’ queer- and trans-spectrum community. 

“the cultural fair was conceptualized very late. i got the idea when i became cdo (only a couple months ago) and neha jumped at the idea to collaborate. we consider this to be a test run for hopefully an ongoing initiative. to organize the event, we spoke to each cultural center individually and got their input on what type of foods, trivia questions, and prizes would best represent them. we then met up with a small group of USG representatives (Marissa, Aanya, and karen) and got to work.”

Josianne Hamilton

The oldest cultural center on campus is the African American Cultural Center, which was founded back in 1968 and is centered on cultural preservation and understanding the heritage of African Americans and people of African descent. 

The Native American Cultural Programs is based around the preservation of Native American culture, including focusing on the importance of land acknowledgement at events and gatherings, to highlight the ever-lasting relationship between Native peoples and their territory. 

The Middle Eastern Cultural Programs is the youngest cultural program on campus, having been founded just one year ago. MECP focuses on building relationships between students, promoting education on Middle Eastern cultures and providing professional development opportunities for students. 

The Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, which arose from the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, focuses on promoting the appreciation of the diversity of Latin American culture and Latinx individuals. 

The Asian American Cultural Center, founded in December of 1987 after the harassment of eight students of Asian descent, helps students of the Asian American community in service and in outreach. 

The Women’s Center’s mission is to advocate and provide support for women’s equity on campus and in the surrounding community at the University of Connecticut. 

All of these organizations run their own individual events and opportunities throughout the school year, but bringing them all together for one massive event? That is a rare opportunity. 

At this Cultural Fair, students can look forward to, “Food, lots of food,” according to Hamilton, with prizes and music to create an amazing event to close out this school year. 

The mission of this year’s Cultural Fair is unity through diversity. This event will bring together people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, but that does not mean that everyone is not united. Through food, music, games, dance and more, UConn’s cultural programs will feel more cohesive than ever. 

To attend the Cultural Fair, head to the Great Lawn at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 29. To get involved in these cultural programs, visit their websites or their offices in the Student Union. 

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