ISU organizes a successful multicultural festival

The students enjoyed seeing, hearing and tasting all that the festival had to offer! Photo courtesy of SUNY New Paltz.

On April 28, the International Student Union (ISU) held a Multicultural Festival (MCF) in the multi-purpose hall of the Student Union Building (SUB). The event ran from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and featured many rewarding experiences for the students who attended.

The festival last took place in 2019, before the pandemic, and was a great success.

Students were drawn in by the promise of dishes prepared by Rocco’s Pizzeria, Mexican Kitchen, New Nelly’s Restaurant, Tokyo Sushi and Asian Fusion. This event was organized by UIS in partnership with the Spanish Club, Union of Latin American Students, Center for International Programs, Study Abroad Office, etc. The ISU Instagram account posted a daily countdown to the festival.

Fourth-year history student and ISU President Emely Jorge helped plan the festival and soaked up its success. This is one of their first events since the pandemic, and it was a very special event for everyone involved.

“The festival felt like time has started to run again,” Jorge said. “The festival made us feel like we were really on the move, the [COVID-19] the situation is now much more under control thanks to everyone’s perseverance and hard work.

The UIS Instagram account, @isusunynewpaltzposted an image of members of the organization’s E-board, captioned “Thank you all for coming to MCF today!! We hope you had as much fun as we did. Also, thank you for everything the support to all parties involved in achieving this goal.We are so proud of ourselves to be able to organize such a big event, especially since there are only five of us on the E-board.

With just five people in charge, they pulled it all together and created a truly wonderful experience for everyone.

The festival featured food and dance and was promoted as “a festival where students/participants can experience different cultural dances, music and cuisines and much more!” It will raise awareness of other cultural clubs on campus and give students/participants the opportunity to interact with each other within the cultural community.

Their flyer, posted on campus, read, “This semester we will have performances by students who are dancers, singers, musicians, and everything in between. Additionally, ISU will provide a group performance, cultural entertainment, groovy music, and food from various countries!

For the duration of the festival, everyone who attended watched performances, ate delicious food and shared ideas with their peers. “About 150 people came to the festival and we are very happy with our participation,” said Jorge. “The goal of the festival was to remind people that the SUNY New Paltz campus is a very diverse place.”

The pandemic prevented many events from happening, including MCF, and it was very special to have it once again hosted on the SUNY New Paltz campus.

“The pandemic also affected people’s ability to study abroad, so it was more visible and felt because of that,” Jorge remarked. “With the return of the Multicultural Festival, we have seen the return of people’s spirits and the desire to return to normality, which is what we used to experience before the pandemic hit.”

Many people overlook all that the SUNY New Paltz campus has to offer. “The international student body has a strong presence at SUNY New Paltz. If there’s one thing I want the higher-ups to never forget, it’s how diverse and important we are,” Jorge said. “Whether international students on student visas or immigrants, we are present and we are important.



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Darcy J. Skinner