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CSU celebrates 68th annual World Unity Fair

The+Korean+Hansori+Drum+and+Dance+group+performs+onstage+at+the+World+Unity+Fair+in+the+Lory+Student+Center+Feb.+17.+%E2%80%9CThis+is+my+first+time+at+a+fair+here%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Jeongyun+Choi%2C+a+representative+of+the+Korean+Student+Association+at+Colorado+State+University.+%E2%80%9CI+was+impressed+that+I+could+see+so+many+diversities+here+because+I+didn%E2%80%99t+think+Colorado+had+that+much.%E2%80%9D
Collegian | Samantha Nordstrom
The Korean Hansori Drum and Dance group performs onstage at the World Unity Fair in the Lory Student Center Feb. 17. “This is my first time at a fair here,” said Jeongyun Choi, a representative of the Korean Student Association at Colorado State University. “I was impressed that I could see so many diversities here because I didn’t think Colorado had that much.”

Stepping into the Lory Student Center ballrooms, visitors of Colorado State University’s 68th annual World Unity Fair were immediately greeted with an array of cultures.

Held Feb. 17, the event featured a variety of international foods, cultural stage performances and booths that accompanied and represented 27 different organizations and clubs.

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The World Unity Fair is organized by International Student & Scholar Services and the Council of International Student Affairs. It is co-sponsored by the Associated Students of CSU and the Fort Collins International Center.
“This year, there were over 30 clubs and organizations involved, with 24 booths, six performances and the International Bazaar,” said Bronwen Watts, assistant director for programming at CSU International Programs. “In total, over 50 countries were represented as several of the clubs represent more than one country/culture.”

Dominik David, a sophomore majoring in computer science, is the vice president of the German Club. Their booth served a hot spiced cider in place of a traditional German wine: Glühwein. They did this in order to make sure that their booth was accessible to all ages.

“I was born in Germany,” David said. “I went back two years ago. All of my family is there. … My father and mother are here in the U.S.”

“It’s my first time at the event, (and) I was quite surprised by the scale of it. I had expected something much smaller and less grand, I was impressed by the cultural performances. The event overall was electric, loud music and the smell of food is enticing to say the least. It was comforting to see elements of my home culture (Japanese) displayed at CSU.” -Mason Maynell, second-year mechanical engineering student

Graham Crosbie, a sophomore majoring in computer science and the treasurer of the German Club, talked about their meetings.

“(During) the first half of our meetings, we talk about something relating to German culture — history, art,” Crosbie said. “The second half is when we do the Stammtisch.”

In German culture, Stammtisch refers to a regularly held informal group meeting.

All groups had their own booth, and a select few sold cultural dishes. Most language clubs host meetings that are open to everyone — both experienced and learning the language.

“I took German in high school, and when I came here, I wanted to see if there was a German club, and there was,” Crosbie said. “I’m actually minoring in (German), but it’s also for fun.”

David explained some of the activities the club does throughout the school year, adding to the “for fun” part of Crosbie’s statement.

“During the Christmas season, we go to the Denver Christmas market,” David said. “Last semester, we went up to Breckenridge, stayed at a hotel and did a whole hiking weekend. But the main thing is our meetings every other Wednesday.”

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In addition to the German Club, the fair featured the Latin American Students and Scholars Organization, clubs representing different parts of Asia, the French Club, the Amani Club and the Bangladesh Student Association.

“We’re selling empanadas,” said Angelie Nieves-Jimenez, president of LASSO. “We have different empanadas all over the Latin Americas. These are Argentinian. We have different activities (in the club), and it’s more so to create a culture of Latin America here and to create a family.”

Julian Montalvo, president of the Japanese Club, talked about his interest in Japanese culture while simultaneously serving visitors a Japanese curry with rice.

“For me, I have a bias for food,” Montalvo said. “I love the food a lot. I think it’s one of the best foods in the world. And it’s so efficient there. Everything is so fast, the public transportation, the health center. I had to get stitches and got a medical card, plus everything is super cheap.”

Loni Thorson, a senior instructor of languages, literatures and cultures at CSU, brought her two young kids to the event.

“Hey, Raven, do you want a bite?” Thorson asked her oldest son in Spanish, offering him gajar ka halwa, a sweet carrot pudding with nuts provided by CSU’s Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues and Action chapter during the fair, and he nodded in approval. Thorson was in attendance because promoted the event to her students.

On center stage, there was a showcase of numerous cultural dances that originated from all over the world. One of the people watching was Mason Maynell, a second-year mechanical engineering student. He watched with awe as the dancers took the stage to present the Korean Hansori Drum and Dance.

“It’s my first time at the event, (and) I was quite surprised by the scale of it,” Maynell said. “I had expected something much smaller and less grand. … The event overall was electric, loud music, and the smell of food is enticing, to say the least. It was comforting to see elements of my home culture (Japanese) displayed at CSU.”

Watts reflected on the goals of the World Unity Fair event and the contributions the clubs and groups make to it.

“The purpose of the event is to increase international awareness,” Watts said. “It is an opportunity for our international community and clubs to showcase their culture and for the CSU and Fort Collins communities to learn about some of the many cultures and languages represented at CSU.”

Reach Rebekah Barry at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @RebekahB24708.

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