Celebrating the Cultural Diversity Festival

Photo// Lilian Nguyen

Photo// Lilian Nguyen


For its third consecutive year, the Cultural Diversity Festival returned and celebrated the rich identities of the Auraria Campus community. On Feb. 28, the Tivoli Turnhalle transformed into a cultural, celebratory conglomerate.

Originally started by Student Government Association (SGA) alumni Tom Wang and the Events and Planning team in 2015, his intention behind the event was to showcase the experiences and identities of the 40,000-plus students that attend all three Auraria Campus institutions. This event became an annual tradition. “Every life and culture is beautiful,” Wang said in his speech at the festival. “I’m proud of the people who continue to change this school.”

The Tivoli Turnhalle grew cramped throughout the day as curious students poured in, checking out the tables representing organizations such as the Latinx Student Alliance and the GLBT Student Resource Center. After conversing with the many student cultural clubs at CU Denver and student resource offices, students were invited to try plenty of food options on the upstairs balcony. Tocabe, a restaurant providing American-Indian cuisine, was a fan favorite.

Besides food, attendees could go to different student organization booths to discuss how to get involved. There were also student performances from clubs such as the Hip-Hop Club on Auraria Campus, Native American Student Services, and students performing a traditional Indian dance.

Ross Kendall-Selwyn, a CU Denver business marketing major, stumbled into the event after being persuaded by his friend. He shared his insight into finding the larger importance of culture. “You can view and understand others’ viewpoints,” Kendall-Selwyn said. “If you don’t experience different things you can be very narrow-minded.”

CU Denver currently boasts a divergent array of students representing all 50 states and 67 different countries, according to CU Denver Admissions, which makes CU Denver one of the most diverse institutions in all of Colorado.

Bringing this event to fruition was no easy task; it endured months of preparation and planning. Aleena Sarwana, current Events and Planning Senator, shared her thoughts on why the Cultural Diversity Festival continues to be a hit among students. “We’re basically celebrating all the different cultures on this campus,” Sarwana said. “Auraria Campus is really diverse, and we want everyone to see and celebrate that.”

Alex Pongphachanxay, SGA’s President, was seen interacting with students during the event. He saw the Cultural Diversity Festival as more than just bringing people together in a large room. “It’s about promoting cultural tolerance, spreading cheer and fun through food and performances, and being able to share that experience with everybody,” Pongphachanxay said.

The event ended on a positive note, spreading cultural awareness through dance, music, and food. Thoughts and ideas are already being tossed around to make history happen once again next year.

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