Festival of Cultures in 28th year

Ben Lippert

Ben Lippert

SDSU has seen major growth in student population over the past few years. This rapid growth includes many different nationalities, making campus more diverse than ever.

For the past 28 years SDSU has celebrated the different cultures and backgrounds of its students through the Festival of Cultures.

FOC is an annual event held in the spring. This year it will be at the Frost Arena from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 9. It costs $2, but is free to SDSU students with an I.D. card.

Lin Lin, the international program coordinator and adviser for the International Relations Club, is coordinating the events this year. She said this year’s event will be bigger than ever and will feature more activities and opportunities than in the past.

“SDSU currently is home to around 500 students and scholars from 59 countries and areas all over the world,” Lin said. “The Festival of Cultures gives a vivid presentation of the world village to the Brookings community, state of South Dakota and surrounding areas.”

She said FOC is a culture fair that allows the community to touch, smell, watch, listen to and taste other cultures.

Liesbeth Stiegelmeier, a freshman social entrepreneurial studies major, agrees that the FOC is an experience for all the senses.

“Your eyes will be opened to something new,” Stiegelmeier said. “And whether it’s something big or small, it doesn’t really matter.”

Alyssa Stolt, a freshman undeclared major, had many positive feelings about the event and thinks it is good for the state.

“In S.D. we don’t get much culture,” Stolt said. “It’s good to see what other cultures are like.”

Featured attractions this year include diversity showcases, displays and bazaar booths from various countries, and cultural food tasting.

This year’s festival will have two new sessions: international activities and games, and international poster presentations.Sponsors for the event include International Relations Club, Students’ Association and the Multicultural Center.

“The festival requires a lot of effort,” Lin said. “I started planning for the program as early as last fall.”

The FOC benefits both the Brookings community and SDSU. In fact, SDSU students made up a majority of the attendance in years past. The event also attracts high school students and faculty in the east and southeast regions of South Dakota, as well as neighboring states.

Many high school students are even given an option to take the day off from normal classes to experience the FOC. This is not a skip day, but a chance for students from across the Midwest and the world to share their cultures and learn from others.

“Festival of Cultures gives our guests a chance to learn about and experience different cultures from around the world and to interact with our international students representing those cultures,” Lin said.