Students Come Together at Community Roots Festival

By Sydney Charles

UC Irvine hosted its annual Community Roots Festival on Oct. 19, showcasing UCI’s cultural organizations. Multiple groups affiliated with the Cross-Cultural Center set up booths across Ring Road to represent themselves and their organizations. The groups had cultural delicacies for attendees to try, giveaways and special performances by Folklorico de UCI, Yemaya Productions and Jodaiko.

Jade K. Agua, director of the Cross-Cultural Center, explained that the event sought “to really reflect on and acknowledge the rich cultural diversity that we have here on campus.”

Additionally, other campus partners, such as the DREAM Center, Office of Inclusive Excellence and Womxn’s Hub, also participated in the fair. Bystanders got to taste various cultures throughout the world during this festival, which is considered one of the Cross-Cultural Center’s “signature” programs.

Although they all came together to show their peers the diversity Irvine has to offer, participants enjoyed the festival for different reasons. Second-year student, Ivann Agapitl, a member of UCI’s Filipino-American organization Kababayan, explained that “looking at all the different cultures intermingling in one space” is his favorite part of the festival.

Erica Martinez, president of Ballet Folklorico de UCI, explained the importance of dance to her organization and culture.

“[We] spread the Hispanic culture, so we perform in a lot of regions of Mexico, different states, different regions, different costumes; We just want to spread the word about our culture, traditions, and then dance and exercise,” she said. “I think the most exciting part for us is performing. We’re about to perform in a bit, and that’s a very exciting to present what we’re practicing.”

For others such as Ria Rana, the financial chair of the Indian Subcontinental Club, the sharing of different foods has made the greatest impact.

“So many ethnicities are here, and we’re all coming together via food which I think is great, because I feel like the way to figure out another country is by their food half the time,” she said. “For me, Indian food is a big part of Indian culture.”

Second-year Joshua Scruggs was a first-timer at the festival. “It’s a cultural display so that’s always interesting,” he said. “With us being a research institution, the cultural aspects of people’s lives are often left out, so it’s important to include that into the knowledge making process.”