CSU’s World Unity Fair celebrates diversity, education

Ty Davis

The weather outside might have been frightful, but inside the Lory Student Center Ballroom the energy was electric at the 65th annual World Unity Fair Saturday night.”

Al Masoudi writing a name in diwi calligraphy
Younis Al Masoudi, a junior studying mechanical engineering and a member of the Omani Students Association, represents the country of Omar through writing names in Arabic calligraphy. Out of five types of of calligraphy, Al Masoudi is writing in diwi. For Al Masoudi, events like the World Unity Fair give a really good opportunity, as an international student, to get closer to other communities and cultures. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

In celebration of the diverse student body at Colorado State University and cultures from around the world, the Office of International Programs and the Fort Collins International Center throw an annual fair to invite the community to learn and experience pieces of different cultures

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According to Mark Hallett, the senior director of International Student and Scholar Services, the event started in the ’60s after a large influx of international students started attending CSU. These students then went on to form what was known as the “Cosmopolitan Club” and began organizing the event each year. Hallett estimates around 4,000 people attend every year.

“We have a large turnout from the community,” Hallett said. “The early part of the event is called the ‘Youth World Tour.’ So, we invite the school children from Fort Collins, through their teachers, to come here and we prepare these passports, so the students go around the booths and get their passports stamped.” 

A bazaar was set up outside of the ballroom where visitors could purchase a variety of different goods and bid in a silent auction on a variety of different items given to the Fort Collins International Center by associates. The proceeds will help fund the programs and future events.

The various booths, staffed by volunteers and international students, represented various countries and continents including China, El Salvador, Thailand, France, Iran and Libya. Several student organizations also took part in the festivities, such as the Muslim Student Association, Latin American Students and Scholars, and the Amani Club.

The event aims to create a sense of community through diversity.

If there was one thing I would say to (students), it would be (to) make friends with an international student. You won’t regret it”-Mark Hallett, Senior Director of International Student and Scholar Services

The booths featured a variety of activities including trivia, scavenger hunts, games and puzzles, as well as culturally-relevant items like toys and books. One of the booths featured a karaoke machine, and attendees sang everything from Bruno Mars to Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Killers. Later in the evening, the booths served food and drinks from the countries they represented.

“It’s nice to open people’s minds, and they can learn about other cultures,” said Elena Arcaroli, an event organizer. “And I think exchange and international students really enjoy it because it’s a way for them to show their culture. I think they’re really proud of doing it and having their food, traditional dances and everything.”

Finally, guests were treated to a performance featuring various acts of singing and dancing. Hallett said that in addition to attending events like the World Unity Fair, students should reach out and make connections with international students. 

This is a great event; it’s a great tradition for CSU, but if there was one thing I would say to (students), it would be (to) make friends with an international student,” Hallett said. “You won’t regret it.”

Ty Davis can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or Twitter @tydavisACW.

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