By Samantha Simon
Ohio Wesleyan exuded diversity Nov. 3, when Horizons International invited students to an evening full of heritage during Culture Fest.
The Benes rooms in HamWill were filled with students attending and participating in the event. It became impossible to find a seat just minutes after the doors opened.
The event started off in prayers read from the Koran, Torah and the Bible, recognizing some of the many religions represented by students on campus.
The American Sign Language club performed “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen as the first act of the night.
Members signed along to the song, and the audience cheered and applauded for an entertaining performance of the recent pop hit.
The event continued with various performances including a display of a traditional Tai Chi dance by senior Guanyi Yang.
Yang explained a little bit about Tai Chi before his performance saying that today it is often practiced for both stress and health benefits.
Another highlight of the night included a performance from the Vietnamese Student Association who collaborated to sing along to a song played on the piano and guitar.
Students were able to enjoy several additional performances with influences from all over the globe.
Sophomore Kelsey Caspersen said she especially enjoyed one of the performances, a Bollywood dance.
“It really put me in the moment, as it was truly inspirational, I also found the Rafiki Wa Afrika dance inspiring and well done,” Caspersen said.
She also enjoyed the wide selection of international food.
“I loved the food not only because it was free, but because it was authentic and delicious. I was most excited about the horchata that VIVA had. The sweet rice milk is a lactose intolerant’s dream,” she said.
Junior Erin Parcells said that she has never really thought about all the cultures Ohio Wesleyan has right here on campus.
“It was awesome to see many cultures displaying their culture in different ways like dance and song, I am disappointed I will be abroad next fall and will not get the chance to attend the event again” Parcells said.
During the week leading up to Culture Fest, Horizons International held Henna week, which helped to promote the event. Students tabled in HamWil offering to apply henna to students for free.
The week was originally intended to help fund the event, but the club’s dorm storming efforts raised enough money.
Senior Mahnoor Wali is the president of Horizons International. She took the lead in organizing Culture Fest and delegating tasks to the other members.
Wali said this is her second year organizing the event. Last semester she was vice president.
She said her previous experience was very challenging considering most of the board members had graduated and there was no one to guide them.
Wali said this year they had a record-breaking amount of audience members and that her previous experience as vice president really helped in organizing the event, as she was familiar with what had to be done.
“The event was a success, the performances were mesmerizing and the food was fantastic,” Wali said.
She said she hopes the event inspired and motivated students to learn more about the diverse amount of cultures campus has to offer.