Breanna Brink, Staff Writer
On Thursday, Nov. 16, Saint Martin’s University hosted its fourth annual Multicultural Carnival in the Norman Worthington Conference Center, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., sponsored by ASSMU (Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University) and the Office of International Programs and Development. The Multicultural Carnival is a celebration of the cultural diversity present on Saint Martin’s campus. Exciting performances take place during the gathering from a wide variety of cultures, such as singing and cultural dances. There was also food from different countries, activities to participate in, and people to talk to about other cultures, clubs, and study abroad opportunities. Saint Martin’s is proud of its diversity, stating firmly on their website “Diversity is our strength. Inspired by our Catholic Benedictine tradition, which promotes the transcendent dignity of the human person, we commit ourselves to fostering an inclusive and global learning environment in which all members of our community can thrive and succeed.” With this in mind, a carnival to celebrate the wide array of students Saint Martin’s houses was obviously the next step. They continue by saying, “we welcome the similarities and differences that comprise our students, faculty, and staff; we open ourselves to the profound change that different cultures, traditions, and beliefs can have on our practice of community; and we educate students to transform our world for peace and justice.”
The plethora of groups represented show the true diversity of Saint Martin’s, hosting cultural booths from the Arab Student Alliance, Black Student Union, Brazil, China, Filipino Heritage Club, International Club, Japan, Korea, Latin Student Alliance, LGBTQA* club, Hui ‘o Hawai‘i Club, Pacific Islanders Club, and Pakistani exchange students, each providing a little something special from their own brand of diversity. Some booths offered food, while others were doing small art pieces for those who asked.
Performances included a wide variety of talent, which were each given brief descriptions and dedicated performances by the student body. One of the performances, “Soran Bushi,” a dance performed by the International Club, is said to have originated from fishermen in Hokaido, Japan. The dance involves movements that describe pulling nets and ocean waves among other things. Another dance preformed was “Aia o Kalani i Meleka,” by the Hui ‘O Hawai’i Club. The dance is an important part of Hawaiian culture, performed to exhibit tradition, culture and tell stories. The Japanese choir sang a song “Letters to my 15-Year-Old-Self,” which is currently popular in Japan. The Japanese language classes sang a more heartfelt song, “Kitte No Nai Okurimono,” which is a conversation between a person and someone who has passed on. Hui ‘O Hawai’i Club preformed another dance called the Waikoloa, which is a more modernized form of Hula in terms of song choicess and different lyrical choices that are incorporated during the song. The Pacific Islanders Club also performed a dance called Pa a e Siva. Samoan culture relies heavily on songs, dancing, and stories to remember their history. This song is dedicated to the joy of dance and song.
There were also a few personal performances, such as the dance “Aye Aye Ke Jabl” performed by Salma Mala. This song title literally translates to “who wants to go?” This song is about dreaming big and reaching for your goals, which is also to encourage people to be strong and love your world and yourself. Another interesting performance was of “Tai Chi” by Wen Wen. “Tai Chi” is a Chinese style of martial arts, and is beneficial for your physical, mental and emotional health. This practice incorporates breathing techniques and physical activity all within one practice.
Saint Martin’s University is proud to represent its diversity. SMU has gone on record saying, “recognizing and embracing our diversity is essential for creating an inclusive campus community in which all members of our community can flourish and succeed. Saint Martin’s seeks to create a sense of belonging and empowerment among all students, staff, and faculty. Inclusion truly exists when historically excluded persons see themselves as valued members of the community, who can shape and redefine the campus culture in significant and meaningful ways.” Clearly this cultural carnival is a step forward in educating students and faculty about the different cultures on their own campus.