Jan 24, 2020
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Students gather together to kick off International Education week as part of a flash mob to celebrate cultural diveristy on campus near the free speech area on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (Larry Valenzuela/The Collegian)

International Culture Night reflects diversity on campus

Fresno State’s 36th annual International Culture Night (ICN) will be held on Sunday, Nov. 24. from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Satellite Student Union. 

The ICN is a student-run event that celebrates the tradition of Fresno State focusing on widespread cultural diversity on campus for more than 30 years. 

ICN is put on by the International Student Services and Programs (ISSP), which represents and assists Fresno State students. Some specific ways that ISSP aids students include issues with immigration, cultural adjustment, social and financial problems, along with any other personal issues and advising questions. 

Saywa Chuji, a theater arts major and ICN coordinator, participated two years ago as a performer representing Ecuador. This year, she was selected to become a coordinator for the annual ICN event. 

“This event reflects all the diversity that we have here on campus. Nowadays, there are so many issues going on around the world, especially in the U.S., where, unfortunately, we don’t have a very exclusive government,” Chuji said. “I think these kind of spaces are very important for people to connect with each other and show that everyone has the same rights.” 

Chuji also noted the importance of recognizing and appreciating each individual’s culture at an event like this.

“We still have our own cultures and traditions, but that does not mean we still do not connect and are not in solidarity with each other,” Chuji said. “It really brings people together who might feel like [they] are left aside.”

The ICN will consist of a variety of performances that span from music, dancing and poetry performances from many countries across the world. 

“There will also be a fashion walk, which will portray the traditional clothing from [different] countries that you will see at the event,” Chuji said.

Upkari Singh, a computer science major, ambassador of the Study Abroad club, Supplemental Instruction leader and club member of Vintage Days and the Indian Student club, is also coordinating ICN alongside Chuji for his second year in a row.

“I think it’s really important for us to embrace each other’s culture because Fresno State is highly known for diversity. Having an event like International Culture Night, it promotes diversity and uniting people,” Singh said. “It is a get together where people from different backgrounds get together. Like our slogan for International Culture Night says, ‘One Night the World Unites.’” 

Singh and Chuji also worked together to put together a flash mob on campus for International Education week, which took place at the free speech area on Monday at 11 a.m.

“We came up with the idea to do a flash mob because we wanted [to] put the word out that [International] Cultural Night is getting ready, and that we have a lot of people with us. It is an interactive way for us to be part of the [International] Cultural Night,” Chuji said.

International Education week will take place here on campus with a variety of events from Nov. 18 to Nov. 24. The event will include speakers, flash mobs, international coffee hour, scholarship awards, student panels, Middle Eastern night, a Latin American Film Festival night and will end with ICN.
ICN is a free event open to the public. For any additional information or questions, please contact issp.icn2019@gmail.com.

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