Last Friday, the Presentation Theatre — where the first half of Culturescape takes place — was full of families members speaking different languages, students carrying bouquets for performers, and faculty members watching from the sidelines as international pop music played in the background. To celebrate the diversity found on campus and throughout San Francisco, the International Student Association put on “Culturescape: Bringing Cultures Together,” a two-part event that promotes cultural education through music, dance, and cuisine on Nov.14.
According to U.S. News, USF ranks eighth on a listing of the most diverse national universities in America. Not to mention, the university’s international students population has increased this year to over 1,500 with students from over 80 different countries across the globe.
Shelly Helgeson, an International Student Advisor, said that Culturescape is a way for both American and International students to collaborate and present their cultures to not only their peers but also the community. “Culturescape brings awareness to all of the diversity USF has to offer in a fun way that people can connect with,” Helgeson said. “It gives people a sense of pride for their culture and the ability to enjoy the process of learning other cultures.”
The curtains rose and the night began with a performance from Hawaiian Ensemble. Being a student from Hawai’i, I was delighted to hear “chee-hoos” — Hawaiian slang used to express excitement — from across the room as the they performed a Hula Kahiko piece and a Ori Tahitian dance.
The night went on to include performances from other USF organizations such as VarCity, ASUSF Voices, Baile Folkorico de San Pancho, Kasamahan, Chinese Student and Scholar Association, and USF’s newest cultural club, Friends of Tibet.
As the curtains closed, attendees rushed to McLaren Hall to get ethnic dishes provided by USF’s cultural clubs. Friends of Tibet passed out momo, tsampa, and butter tea, the Arab Student Union provided falafel, hummus, and baklava, and Vietnamese Student Association supplied Bambu Che Trai Cray.
“Though I came here to support Kasamahan, its amazing to see everyone also exploring their own cultural roots while also developing global minds,” said junior Zach Raha.