Rainbow Fest Celebrates Diversity

UCI has gained a reputation for its high Asian population, but believe it or not, it hasn’t always been this way.
Twenty years ago, UCI staff and faculty realized that the cultural makeup at UCI was rapidly changing.
As more African-Americans came to the university, the need for more cultural acceptance and understanding between races became apparent.
The staff and faculty were committed to the concept that diverse cultures had much to learn from each other. This is where the idea for the Rainbow Festival was first realized.
The Rainbow Festival is sponsored by UCI’s Cross-Cultural Center. Founded in 1974 by a group of students, staff and faculty, its creation was due to concern with the growing diversity on campus.
The CCC was the first multicultural center on campus. Since the Rainbow Festival’s beginning in 1984, the festival has grown to be one of the most anticipated events put on by the CCC and has served as a model for other similar festivals for other campuses and universities.
For the first few years, the festival consisted of a cultural fair ‘food and fiesta’ type of event. In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, students involved in the CCC realized that a deeper dialogue was needed. A two to three-day conference was added to the Rainbow Festival which featured presentations, workshops and keynote speeches from advocates of cultural diversity such as Ariana Huffington and Helen Zia.
Unfortunately, due to budget cuts and a staff shortage in the CCC, this year’s Rainbow Festival will only consist of the Cultural Fair on Ring Road on Nov. 2 and 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
This year, a special cultural night has been added in Crystal Cove Auditorium on Nov. 4 at 7:00 p.m..
This event will honor and celebrate cultural diversity by bringing out six different cultural groups to showcase their talent.
The fair on Ring Road will have booths representing the various umbrella organizations in the CCC such as APSA, MEChA, ASU, ASA, and Kababayan as well as pan-hellenic sororities and other service groups. These booths will be offering cultural foods as well as educational information.
These booths will also be competing against each other for four $100 cash prizes and will be judged on creativity, informativeness interactiveness and best representation of the CCC’s 30-year history.
This competition is done in hopes of lifting campus spirit.
‘Most people think of campus spirit as coming from sports events,’ said Anna Gonzales, director of the CCC. ‘[We are encouraging] campus spirit through cultural diversity instead and people can feel comfortable participating in it or not.’
Kababayan, one of the most popular cultural clubs on campus, plans to participate in the booths for the Rainbow Festival.
‘Our booth will try to teach the five aspects of Kaba: social, political, academic, culture and community,’ said Willard Lacro, president of Kababayan. ‘[Our booth] will try to portray the different aspects of Kaba through pictures, dancing and also through just talking to students.’
Try to come out and watch some of the cultural dances or visit the booths during the festival.
There’s a lot of diversity on our campus and this is a great chance to learn more about your classmates.