The College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) Council for Diversity and Professionalism (CDP), Graduate Student Association (GSA), and VOICE shared cultural elements from some of the diverse student backgrounds represented at the CVM on Tuesday, March 27.
More than 100 CVM students watched the dance performances and ate the crawfish and other cuisine shared as part of a cultural potluck during the second annual International Cultural Fest, held in the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC) Courtyard and VENI dining room.
“The Cultural Food Potluck Table was a favored aspect for some individuals because participants enthusiastically explained their dish and shared their culture with other attendees as they served their dish,” said Jessica Smith, Class of 2019 CDP representative and VOICE vice president.
Among the performing groups were Wreckin’ Raas, a Gujarat & Rajasthan India dance team; Fade to Black Dance Ensemble, a team that promotes a variety of cultures through dance; and Salsa Fusion, a team dedicated to celebrating Latin culture and also the fusion of traditional salsa with hip-hop dance.
“Performers introduced their groups before performing and were able to share with the audience some historical and cultural information about their style of dance, as well as the mission of their cultural student organization,” said Courtney Smith, Class of 2019 CDP representative who led the event-planning effort.
The International Cultural Festival was created to celebrate multiculturalism and provide an opportunity for the CVM to come together to embrace the diversity within the college.
“It just made sense for us to come together and put on an event for the CVM that represents what we all stand for,” said VOICE president Cebrina Cavazos. “VOICE has a mission to enhance diversity in the veterinary profession as well as strengthen the cultural competence of veterinary students. With events like Cultural Fest, we hope to promote the importance of cross-cultural awareness so that we can meet the needs of our diversifying clientele after graduation.”
Another goal of the event was to bring together the two CVM doctoral programs in hopes of fostering networking for current and future collaborations between biomedical researchers and practicing clinicians, according to Courtney Smith.
“The population of students in the GSA is quite diverse, with many nationalities represented,” said Garhett Wyatt, CVM-GSA president. “The culture fest is one such event that highlights and celebrates our students while also sharing a space with the vet students.”
“CDP is always looking for ways to celebrate diversity in culture, religion, and professions,” Jessica Smith said. “This event was a great way to bring together diversity in culture and in profession by collaborating with the GSA and mingling with other students and faculty in the CVM.”
Overall, Cavazos and her co-organizers were very happy with the event’s turnout and hope to continue the event in the future.
“The performances were highly successful, and the crowd enjoyed all of the dance organizations,” Courtney Smith said. “Judging by how much food we had left (which was none) I think everyone really enjoyed the food as well. We received many sentiments of appreciation from attendees and we feel that everyone who came by had a great time.”
To see more pictures from the event, visit the CVM Flickr page.