Campus groups are looking for their fill of funds and fun this week, using cuisine as the icing on the celebratory cake.
The seventh annual UCSB Celebration of Communities will hold its primary fundraiser today behind Building 434 at noon, with student groups selling ethnic foods and performing dances and music. As part of the celebration, a number of student groups will be tabling in hopes of finding potential recruits.
The celebration, a two-week festival put together by various administrative and student organizations, began Nov. 5 and has both free and fund-raising events scheduled through Nov. 16.
“This is a great collaborative series … and sharing the food of another person’s culture is a great way of sharing their own culture and reaching an understanding,” MultiCultural Center Programmer Alyaa El Abbadi said.
The Educational Opportunity Program, Division of Student Affairs, Education Abroad Program, Arts & Lectures, the MultiCultural Center, the Office of International Students & Scholars and the Office of Student Life, with the contribution of many other student organizations sponsored the celebration.
Zaveeni Khan-Marcus, MCC director and founding member of the celebration, said it aims to bring the organizing groups together, in addition to the cultures that they represent. It is a highly anticipated demonstration of how the different communities can integrate and function as a whole, she said.
“It’s very broad and meant to be broad,” Director of Student Affairs Yolanda Garcia said. “We come from lots of life experiences and this is an opportunity, over a short period of time, to sample what those are, and, ideally, stimulate people into having an interest to proceed with that and go to more cultural events.”
The celebration will continue Wednesday with two films, a musical performance and an interactive lecture, and will conclude Friday with an International Dessert Festival.
It is a deliberate choice to use the term “community,” rather than “culture” because the goal of the festival is to create a sense of campus community, Garcia said.
Another goal of the festival is to “understand that within this campus community are multiple cultures,” Garcia said.
This festival is especially important considering the Sept. 11 events, Khan-Marcus said.
“We are creating a forum where we can come together,” she said. “It’s very important to understand different communities and know what we share – not just what we don’t share.”
Khan-Marcus said there was an excellent turnout from students and members of the local community for last week’s sponsored events, and the remaining events this week have the same promise.
“Working together for this celebration you learn to appreciate other people’s talents and strengths, and they, yours,” Garcia said, “because you all bring different talents and strengths.”