ISO Festival brings cultures together

This year’s annual International Student Organization Festival was held on Saturday, Feb. 11 in the Knutson Campus Center. Outside the Centrum, a World Expo was set up; booths from around the world displayed cultural pictures and trinkets. Students walked around in traditional clothing and smiled when asked to explain their culture to inquiring wanderers.

The ISO Festival was first proposed in order to create a bond between the tri-colleges with international mission and BREW together through different ethnic groups and cultures. The event included a free international dinner with foods from around the globe and student performances by tri-college students including African dancing, Chinese taiji, singing and acting. The evening ended in an intercultural dance party featuring DJ Promotion 701 in a glow in the dark atmosphere.

Charlie Alvarez, Concordia junior and ISO board member, was excited for this year’s events.

“Last year, I dressed up and performed the salsa,” he said.

Though he did not perform in this year’s festival, he was excited to watch the other talents and traditions of the other students in this year’s show.

“This is just such a great celebration of intercultural diversity,,” he said, connecting to this year’s theme.

The variety in booths was immense. Though bright colors and enthusiasm radiated from each one, each chose different ways to display their country. MSUM’s Japanese club and Concordia’s German club were set up side by side.

The Japanese club had traditional brushes at their booth and wrote down people’s name in beautiful characters on strips of paper. The German booth had display boards with German Coffeehouse culture information and its members informed wanderers of their Fasching festival coming up.

Junior Ariel Sacher helped run the German booth.

“People like stopping by to chat; a common question we get is, What does the German club do?” she said.

This event has provided a great way for people to ask questions about other countries and cultures and to also get involved.

Concordia sophomore Taswar Rahman went to the festival representing both Bangladesh and Sweden.

“I went to this event last year, and it was so much fun,” he said. “It is always so much fun and the best part is the dance at the end of the night with the DJ.”  Rahman, also a member of ISO, estimated that over 49 countries and cultures were represented at the event.

Each year, the ISO festival offers unlikely people the chance to come together and bond over the idea of diversity. People from diverse backgrounds are choosing to call the area home ISO works to welcome and introduce different cultural ideas and perspectives into a beautiful celebration of both similarities and differences.

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