Jackie Espitia | Mustang News

Siga aquí para leer este artículo en Español.

The University Union was packed with music, booths and food in celebration of Cal Poly’s 24th annual Culturefest on Saturday, Oct. 23. Lined up with Mustang Family Weekend, students and their parents could be spotted enjoying the day’s festivities hosted by the Multi-Cultural Center.

“I think it’s really making the cultural presence known at Cal Poly,” architecture junior and co-president of the Multi-Racial Student Association Zoe Paris said. “Even though it is a predominately white institute, the fact that we have these celebrations that highlight people of color and other organizations on campus is really nice.”

Cal Poly is the only predominantly white institution (PWI) in the entire Cal State University system, as previously reported by Mustang News. The PolyView Fall quarter census as of 2020 shows that 54.04% of students self-reported “white” as their ethnic origin.

“Especially with this being a PWI, it’s really important for students to be able to see the different cultures that are on campus and the different identities that they might belong to,” Biomedical engineering sophomore Janet Velasquez said. “I feel like it might help them feel more welcomed knowing that these people do exist on our campus, and that there are safe spaces for them to come and talk about their identities, be with other people who match their identities.”

[metaslider id=”229812″]

Jackie Espitia | Mustang News

Velasquez was one student representing the Pilipino Cultural Exchange club at CultureFest. She serves as one of the club’s membership coordinators and helps run their big-little program, which connects new students with “bigs” that can help them navigate the club and student life at Cal Poly.

“The whole point is to be an exchange, so people of all identities and ethnicities are welcome,” Velasquez said. “I myself am hispanic, so I was a little nervous at first because I feel like going into new cultural clubs, if you’re not a part of that cultural identity it can be a little difficult, but they make it such an inclusive and safe space for you to come and join and be involved.”

According to Ethan Nagamine, President of Hui O Hawai’i, their club has been preparing for CultureFest since the start of the academic year. With the help of their faculty adviser, Nagamine and his fellow club members were able to sell shave ice, as many other booths also sold goods as a fundraiser for their individual club efforts.

Computer science junior Jenisa Nguyen is Web developer for Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an Asian-interest sorority at Cal Poly. The proceeds of their booth were going towards their philanthropy centered around breast cancer awareness. For CultureFest, the sorority was vending Spam Misubi, freshly prepared by their members and assembled at the event.

“We started preparing pretty much in the summer, just so that we could make sure we were organized with the food, and to get ingredients and figure out shifts,” Nguyen said. 

The Multi-Cultural Center collaborated with ASI events to host guest musician Madame Gandhi in the UU plaza. The concert was followed by several club-hosted performances, including the Kasa Dance Crew, a non-audition group affiliated with the Korean American Student Association. The club posted a full video of their CultureFest performance to their Youtube channel.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *