One of the most unique qualities of IUPUI is its love and celebration of diversity. IUPUI promotes acceptance, tolerance, and love towards everyone who calls this campus their own. For the last 13 years, the International Fest has continued to promote this message and unite the hearts of the student body with its commitment to celebration and diversity.
For such a prestigious event, it takes quite a bit of planning. Hayley Powell, the linguistics director, has been planning the festival for over a year.
“I make the reservations about 13 months out, but we usually begin planning in September or October to get the word out there,” Powell said. “We have planning committees with people who have worked on it in the past, and then the final months before the Fest is for narrowing down details such as performer schedules, getting authentic food recipe submissions from students, and then deciding which ones to present.”
Different stations of delicious, authentic food were located on the first and lower level of the Campus Center.
Among the selections on the first floor were Chinese vegetarian dumplings and Brazilian cheese bread. There was also chai tea from India. The lower level of the Campus Center had Japanese fried chicken, along with fried rice from Sri Lanka. Those who wanted something a little sweeter could bite into a tapioca pudding from Vietnam.
Food wasn’t the only representation of culture at the International Festival. Music from several cultures was represented on the stage by the campus bookstore.
Along with the music, many participants demonstrated their dance culture along with the music native from their specific country. Not only did they dance, but they also invited anyone who wanted to learn to join them on the dance floor.
There was also cultural dress to add on to the list of authentic food, music, and dance. Several individuals displayed love for their country through beautiful outfits from their native land.
Elena Miller was one of these several individuals. A native from Romania, the president of the Romanian society.
“This is the third year we have participated. It’s a fun event, and I love seeing all the young people embracing international relations,” Miller explained. “It embraces the diversity of IUPUI. It’s fun to share, and that’s how we learn about each other.”
The International Festival doesn’t only bring the student body closer together, but people outside of IUPUI also take advantage of the event in order to promote their clubs or love of diversity.
“We normally have the center for young children more on the west end of campus. They usually stop by, and we explain to them what is going on as part of their field trip experience,” Powell explains. “Indy Eleven has also come for the past few years, and we have a blow-up soccer goal in the lower level.”
Miller seconded Powell with her Romanian organization and bringing up other clubs she and her friends have got to know the past few years.
“We like to know about other countries, and we befriended the Scottish society. Some of the countries aren’t close to our country to travel to, so this is the best opportunity find out about other countries I didn’t get to visit.” Miller stated.
Even though the International Fest is only once a year, the celebration of diversity and culture is always present in the Campus Center. The eye-grabbing flags adorn all levels of the building, and they remain up all year long.
“The flags represent the member states of the United Nations. There’s 193 member states, and two observer states. Another thing that’s cool is they’re in alphabetical order on the railing. You start with your home country, so that’s why the American flag is first.” Powell explained.
The International Fest is becoming known as a regular IUPUI event, but it continues to improve each year with more people who come to represent, and more who come to learn. Diversity and culture is something to be celebrated not only on our campus, but in our nation. The International Fest helps to do just that.
“It’s just a big celebration of the diversity on campus as well as the community. We want this to open your eyes to what’s out there,” Powell said. “The food, performances, awareness, and education all come together into one thing, which makes it a wonderful celebration.”