The annual fall showcase for the United Front Multicultural Center (UFMC) is tonight, Nov. 8 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., in the Hahn University Center Forums. Multicultural Night, a free, fun-filled celebration of great food, rich cultural expression and spirited live performances by various University of San Diego student organizations, is here.
It’s a chance for the campus community to gather for a great time with friends — make new ones, too — and to understand why some believe that Multicultural Night is a snapshot of what’s possible for the betterment of all at USD.
“One of the most important factors in our development as a more inclusive and diverse campus is the common goal our student organizations strive to achieve. The fact that our student body is comprised of so many different organizations shows incoming Toreros that we’re moving forward to make the change,” said Taku Uyeda, a junior business administration major, and a member of Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization (FUSO).
FUSO, a campus organization at USD for 20 years, is one of several strong representatives of the UFMC family. In all, the UFMC is affiliated with 17 undergraduate student-run clubs, each of whom represents a portion of USD’s total student body. Additionally, the UFMC supports four graduate/law organizations: Black Law Students Association, Black Graduate Student Association, SOLES’ Latino Graduate Student Association and PRIDE Law.
Uyeda, in addition to FUSO, also serves as coordinator for the UFMC’s Leadership Council (UFLC). Student leaders from many of the student organizations within the UFMC are on the council. They meet once a month to discuss issues facing their respective organizations. Uyeda said UFLC leaders have, in recent meetings, have been discussing issues that pertain to the wellbeing of all on campus.
“We, as a committee, have realized that it is important to focus on a larger range of issues that our members may be facing. … We want to broaden our focus from simply identity issues to other issues that everybody faces such as depression, academic struggles, sexual assault, etc. The current leaders of the committee have shown a strong drive to move the UFMC and the entire USD campus community forward.”
Uyeda and others are demonstrating this drive not only through words, but also action.
“The university is driven by students,” he said. “More importantly, the change in our university is becoming more tangible because of students in our organizations. On a daily basis, whether it’s a multicultural organization, Greek Life, an academic or sports organization, our students constantly serve our campus for the better by organizing and co-sponsoring events that increase awareness about an array of current issues.”
Tonight’s event, Multicultural Night, is certainly enhanced by multiple-organization participation. The night’s live student group performers, according to UFMC Graduate Assistant Ben Mendoza, are People of the Islands (POI), Black Student Union (BSU), Movimiento Estudantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), South Asian Student Association, Folklorico and Mariachi Association (FAMA), Sigma Theta Psi and FUSO.
Organizations often perform a culturally traditional song, dance, poem or other art form that inspires all in attendance. Furthermore, Tarez Lemmons, a USD student and frequent poetry slam artist, is also scheduled to perform.
In describing the performance portion of this event, the UFMC website has a quote stating: “It is through the arts, the sharing of our traditions without any stigmas or stereotypes, that the beauty of unique heritages and cultural distinctness can be most easily transmitted and appreciated.”
A fun evening is what tonight’s Multicultural Night offers, but as one can see, it’s also an invitation to experience so much more, thus enhancing an inclusive environment for all Toreros.
— Ryan T. Blystone
UPDATE: Check out a USD Facebook photo gallery from the 2013 UFMC Multicultural Night celebration.