On Friday, Nov. 3, Marietta College’s second annual Multicultural Festival was held. Over 300 students lined the front of Hermann Fine Arts Center from 5-7 p.m. to experience food and demonstrations from 21 different countries.
“Marietta College has a very diverse population. International students make about twelve percent of the population of the students,” event organizer Baffour Paapa Nkrumah-Ababio said.
The first Multicultural Festival was held last year after Nkrumah-Ababio (a senior international student from Ghana) became interested in highlighting the campus’s cultural diversity.
“Multicultural Fest was an idea I brought up my sophomore year after being here a year and realizing that there were no avenues where we could celebrate all the diversity of culture and thought here at Marietta College,” Nkrumah-Ababio said.
Last year’s event was attended by about 150 students. This year, Nkrumah-Ababio had his hopes set on an even greater turnout. So he began looking at expanding beyond the student body.
“We wanted to reach out more to community members… by bringing in more cultures that aren’t constantly represented by our student population,” senior (event staff member) Tara Clinton said.
With the help of the Pioneers Activity Council (PAC) and many participating cultural groups, this year’s attendance doubled over last year’s.
“From what I’ve seen so far, it seems like a very good way of observing cultures that we see around campus,” senior Jonah Litman said.
Litman held a plateful of authentic freshly made Chinese and Guatemalan foods. Students also enjoyed sushi, barbequed meats, various pastries and other cultural dishes. The festival roared with laughter and lively conversation, as students exchanged experiences.
“I just feel like Multicultural [festival] is very needed, not only for people that come from America but come from other countries,” senior international student Mark Bao said.
Bao, a native of Beijing, explained that experiencing other cultures in person is different than simply reading about them.
“I feel like it’s different than just the words from books. You can really feel the culture,” Bao said of the festival.
Nkrumah-Ababio said he hopes people left the event with a greater appreciation for other cultures, stating that, “irrespective of our differences, we can all come together and have fun and interact with each other.”