On April 28, the International Student Union (ISU) hosted a Multi-Cultural festival (MCF) in the multi-purpose room in the Student Union Building (SUB). The event took place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and featured many enriching experiences for students who attended.
The festival was last held in 2019, before the pandemic, and was a great success.
Students were lured in with the promise of catered food from Rocco’s Pizzeria, Mexican Kitchen, New Nelly’s Restaurant, Tokyo Sushi and Asian Fusion. This event was organized by ISU in partnership with the Spanish club, the Latin American Student Union, the Center for International Programs, the Study Abroad office and more. The ISU Instagram account posted a countdown everyday leading up to the festival.
Fourth-year history major and president of ISU, Emely Jorge was a part of planning the festival and soaking in 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 started running again,” Jorge stated. “The festival felt like we are really moving, the [COVID-19] situation is much more under control now thanks to everyone’s perseverance and hard work.”
The ISU Instagram account, @isusunynewpaltz, posted an image of the organization’s E-board members, captioned “Thank you to everyone for coming to the MCF today!! We hope that you had as much fun as we did. Also, thank you for all the support to all parties involved in making this happen. We’re so proud of ourselves to be able to pull off such a big event, especially because we’re only five of us on the E-board.”
With only five people in charge, they pulled everything together and created a truly wonderful experience for everyone.
The festival featured food and dancing and was promoted as “A festival where students/attendees are able to experience different cultural dances, music and cuisines and so much more! It will bring awareness to other cultural clubs on campus as well as give students/attendees an opportunity to interact with one another from the cultural community.”
Their flier, posted around campus stated “This semester, we will be having performances by students who are dancers, singers, musicians, and anything in-between. Additionally, ISU will have a band performance, cultural entertainment, groovy music and food from various countries!”
For the duration of the festival, everyone who attended watched performances, ate delicious cuisine and shared ideas with peers. “We had about 150 people come to the festival and we’re super happy about our turn-out,” Jorge stated. “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 occurring, including the MCF, and it was very special to have it hosted again on the SUNY New Paltz campus.
“The pandemic also affected peoples’ ability to study abroad so it was more visible and felt because of that,” Jorge remarked. “With the return of the Multi-Cultural Festival, we saw the return of the peoples’ spirits and desire to return to normalcy, being what we used to experience before the pandemic hit.”
Many people forget how much the SUNY New Paltz campus has to offer. “The International student body is very much present in SUNY New Paltz. If there’s anything I want for the higher-ups to never forget is just how diverse and important we are,” Jorge stated. “Whether students are internationals under a student visa or immigrants, we are present and we are important.”