Passport To Diversity

Ally McAlpine/ Fourth Estate

One Love Cultural Festival Shows Off the Different Cultures Of Mason


To describe what the One Love Cultural Festival was all about is to use Patriot Activities Council’s (PAC) catchphrase, “We create events, so you can create memories.”

On Thursday, Sept. 20, PAC hosted the One Love Cultural Festival, an annual event where Mason students get the opportunity to meet and interact with a few of Mason’s many organizations. A diverse group of students gathered in Wilkins Plaza to enjoy the food, music and live performances.

Students had to follow four steps to participate in the festival. First, students had to check in with the Well-Being Street Team and get a passport. Then, they would have to visit the student organizations and get five organizations to sign the passport. Once the passports were signed, students could stop by the food court. Finally, students could pick up a prize from PAC.

Students could interact with several organizations, including the Indian Student Association (ISA), Thai Student Association (TSA), Filipino Cultural Association (FCA) and Korean-American Student Association (KSA). These associations wanted to promote their traditions and cultures to network with Mason students, build a strong community of leaders and overall be a part of the Mason community by encouraging Patriots to be involved.

Twinkle Gera, a member of ISA, said, “We have a lot of cultural events throughout the year, like Holi Moli, Welcome Week [and] paint night. All of our events except for one are free and open to the public. Anyone can come to them.”

As the night continued, there were dance performances from some organizations. FCA opened the stage with unique and creative choreography by incorporating modern and traditional Filipino dances.

GMU Bhangra also preformed, dancing to upbeat popular music associated with Punjabi culture. Puneet Brar, a member of GMU Bhangra said, “This dance takes place in Punjab, India. It was originated there. [Bhangra] is a very high intensity co-ed sport that competes nationally.” With tryouts on Sept. 30, GMU Bhangra is hoping to get more student involvement. Currently there are 25 members, with 16 of those members going into competitions.

KSA and the Caribbean Student Association (CSA) performed with music from their culture.

In between live performances, students could talk to friends or grab a beverage and sample traditional dishes offered by the Well-Being Street Team.

Jabali Afrika, a band from Kenya, closed out the night by playing a unique mix of African folklore music, including a five-minute instrumental.

One Love Cultural Festival is an annual event celebrating the many different cultures represented within the Mason community. Symone Sparks, the director of programming for PAC, said, “Because our audience is the entire Mason community, we try to offer events that cater to everyone and are either free or low cost.” Sparks continued, “The objective for every event that we plan and promote is to give Mason students an opportunity to feel at home and to help foster a community within Mason.”

Whether you are an on-campus or off-campus student, these student organizations are there for you to feel welcome and learn about the diversity that Mason associations bring to the students.