The Orion

International event features dancing with diversity

Amanda Hovik

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Members of the African Diaspora Organization perform an Afro-Caribbean dance to the sounds of steel drum percussion at the International Festival on Saturday. Photo credit: Matthew Vacca

Afro-Caribbean dancers in patterned shirts and flowing skirts performed a Calypso dance to the beat of a steel drum band as a crowd on the lawn watched.

The 40th annual International Festival on Saturday was open to the community, showcasing food, dance and music of different cultures.

Pa Yang, a senior nursing and Asian studies double major, has been to the International Festival every year since she attending Chico State.

“I love it,” she said. “I like the display and the performances and food. It shows you aspects of culture you probably wouldn’t have the chance to experience.”

Some student organizations involved included: the African Diaspora Organization, Hmong Student Association, Filipino American Student Organization, Lambda Theta Nu sorority, Nu Alpha Kappa fraternity and the Saudi Arabian Student Association.

Colin Barredo, a junior sustainable manufacturing major and Filipino American Student Organization president, performed at the event.

“When I came up here, I wanted to continue being involved in my culture as much as I could be,” he said. “I didn’t think I would be able to, but once I saw FASO, they gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and take a leader position and be one with my culture.”

Danielle Anguiano, a senior social science major and former Orion staff member, helped organize the event as the commissioner of multicultural affairs.

“My favorite part about it is it provides a great fundraising opportunity for these organizations,” Anguiano said. “They can sell them food or goods or whatever, and basically it’s a great opportunity to tell the stories of these different cultures that have a great place on our campus.”

Rayan Menkabo, a senior mechanical engineering major and Saudi Arabian Student Association member, attended the event.

“It’s not just for Americans; it’s also for foreigners to learn about other cultures around the globe,” Menkabo said. “It’s good experience.”

Hamdan Alqasemi, a senior business major, supported the Saudi Arabian Student Association at the International Festival.

“I’ve always dreamed to come abroad to the U.S. and when that dream came true, I was so happy and then I started here,” Alqasemi said. ”I’m almost graduating, but the best thing is I learned real language, new culture and met new people from all over the world.”

Abdulkareem Altamimi, a junior mechatronic engineering major and member of the Saudi Arabian Student Association, dressed in a thobe, a full-length white garment, and wore a keffiyeh headpiece.

“I think it’s a great thing to have in the U.S. for our culture to show the Americans part of our culture and cities and the way we dress,” Altamimi said.

Amanda Hovik can be reached at [email protected] or @AmandaHovik on Twitter

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International event features dancing with diversity