By Jennifer Rama Szwed
The Cross-Cultural Center’s upcoming Community Roots Festival, which will take place on Ring Road on Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is slated to be one of the largest in the annual event’s history. The festival will showcase the resources the Cross-Cultural Center has to offer, and will give students the opportunity to explore UCI’s many culture-based organizations.
The festival will feature lunch hour performances by various campus organizations, such as Kababayan and TaiKomotion, a mural contest centered around the topic of inclusiveness, clubs fundraising and selling food and booths for campus resources, such as the LGBT Resource Center and the New Narratives Program. In addition, the Cross-Cultural Center will be holding an open house to encourage students to learn more about its programs and become involved.
The Cross-Cultural Center is a resource on campus that has many opportunities for students to gain leadership experience and to develop a deeper understanding of diversity and contemporary social issues. However, according to some members of its staff, many students do not take advantage of these resources.
For this reason, Assistant Director of the Cross-Cultural Center, Daniel Park. is excited about this year’s festival. Although this event is not new — UCI has held an annual Rainbow Festival celebrating the campus’s diversity since 1984 — Park revealed that this year’s event will be held on a much larger scale and involve more campus organizations.
In previous years, the festival had a theme. However, this year, the committee instead decided to have the festival center around the Cross-Cultural Center’s tagline, “build inclusive communities.” Park shared that the festival’s name was recently changed to the Community Roots Festival to more clearly reflect this purpose.
Park, who joined the staff of the Cross-Cultural Center this July, said that he joined because the center is “aligned with [his] values,” and being part of “a space that meets [his] professional and personal needs is really fulfilling.” He is particularly excited about “connect[ing] with folks who typically don’t interact with the Cross-Cultural Center,” emphasizing that “it’s not just a place for particular groups.”
Park described the Cross-Cultural Center as “an opportunity for students to reflect on their own values and identities,” “a place to ask questions” and “a place where students can be understood and validated.”
The Cross-Cultural Center is located across from Aldrich Hall. Building hours are 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. every day, but administrative office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m.