Melting pot of cultures spice up festival

The sounds of Japanese Taiko drums, the sights of Latin dancing and the smells of homemade food melded together in Brower Student Center on Feb. 8. This mix of diversity was courtesy of multicultural sorority Theta Nu Xi’s event ONEify.

“One of our goals is to expose people to different cultures, and for them to have a good time doing so,” Yvette Mocete, vice president of Theta Nu Xi, said. This attempt was reflected in the event’s publicity. “One World, One Choice,” read the giant banner in the student center announcing the multicultural festival. Dressed in T-shirts with globes on the back and the countries they individually represented, sisters from Theta Nu Xi walked around the atrium and served food which they had cooked themselves.

Various organizations participated in the event, some to contribute performances and others to set up tables with cultural information.

Tables lined the side of the atrium, set up by organizations ranging from the Hispanic soritories and fraternities to the Islamic Society and the Haitian Students Union.

Elain Smolen, Prism president, said, “This event brings a great variety of organizations together, especially Greeks and non-Greeks, to celebrate diversity, which is an important part of college life and just life in general.”

There were four performances intermingled with music from DJ Godfather throughout the night. Sisters from Theta Nu Xi kickstarted ONEify with a song and dance about what the event and their organization was all about. Then members of various Hispanic sororities and fraternities performed cultural dances.

The Japanese Club’s performance on Taiko drums was called “one of the best acts around” by the announcers. It was announced that the same act would be featured in Mystique, sponsored by the Asian American Association, in April.

“Most multicultural clubs on the campus get separated, and this is a way we get to interact with each other,” Matthew Schlotfeldt, vice president of Japanese Club, said. “The Asians, the Latinos and the Greeks – this event shows we’re one big community.”

This was the second year ONEify took place on campus. Last year, according to College alum and Theta Nu Xi adviser Luciane Pacius, the event was part of a larger one called Theta Week. Now it is its own event, a trend the sorority wants to continue.

“I’d call this event a definite success, but next year, we want it to be even bigger,” senior nursing major Mary Elmalak, who coordinated the event, said. “I tried to get notices out to almost any diverse group on campus. Eventually, (I hope) to make this an annual event.”

“We just wanted people to show up, to learn and to have fun,” Mocete said. “We put all our heart and soul in the event because it’s what our sorority is all about.”

Elmalak talked about another goal of the event. “I hope we can build campus tolerance,” she said. “Prejudice and things like that still exist. I hope we can help break away from stereotypes by presenting the basics of every culture involved.”