Culture Fest celebrates different cultures around Southern’s campus

Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter

The Cultural Fest highlighted and recognized numerous cultures reflected throughout Southern’s student body that oftentimes go overlooked said Michael Schindel, international student advisor for the Office of International Education.

“We are taking a day to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of our student body,” said Schindel. “That includes our international students but also our minority students. We have such a diverse school and community, so I think it is important to take a day and acknowledge the other cultures that are around us in New Haven because they are fascinating and we often don’t see [them] every day.”

Schindel said he has helped organize the Cultural Fest for the past three years and he thinks it is a great tradition. With the food, the sunshine, and the “amazing performances,” the event is one everyone should enjoy.

The Cultural Fest featured performances from Caribbean Vibe LLC, the Chinese School, Eduardo Rocha: “Los Trovadores de America,” Organization of Latin American Students, Matt Silvera: “Matt the Violinist,” and Club Taekwondo, where they creatively displayed an array of heritages.

Joey Linebarger, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development graduate intern and programs council advisor, said he has helped organize the Cultural Fest for the three years and every year they strive to make this fest better than it was before. For this year’s event, their focus was on the food.

“We looked at what they did last year for the event and we saw some of the difficulties that they had, in terms of having tents and serving all the food,” said Linebarger. “We wanted to give it a different feel, so we reached out to different food trucks that were culturally diverse and different.”

Students ate for free from their choice of four food trucks: Jonny’s Grinders, Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant on Wheels, NYC Have a Ball, and Taco Pacifico. Yenny Bayas, junior accounting major, said she was unaware of the Cultural Fest until she walked by the trucks and feels as though their presence makes students more enthusiastic.

“On campus we have a limited amount of food variety and just knowing that there are food trucks with a variety of food, I just feel like it makes our school spirit go up just because we are a lot more excited,” said Bayas, “and since it is nice out a lot more people are out and participating in all these activities.”

Overall, Bayas said she enjoys events such as these because it brings awareness to a variety of cultures on campus and allows students a peek inside her own Hispanic culture as well.  

“It makes me happy and it makes me feel more welcome to campus because it is like they are bringing my culture and letting other people who are not from the same country know about my culture, know about my food. It just makes me feel like our community is embracing more diversity and that is always good.”

Linebarger said the overall goal of the Cultural Fest is for students to have a good time and to experience things they would not normally get to on campus, such as eating authentic food from other cultures, raising awareness about other heritages, as well as learning about different opportunities that are available, such as studying abroad.

Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter


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