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Student Life Does Intercultural Awareness Week


A series of events aims to show-off the U of G’s cultural diversity

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Intercultural Awareness Week volunteers, from left to right: Shannon Shum, Hong Lam, Gbolahan “GB” Olarewaju, Shanella Ramikssoon, Dana Plant, and melanie Vaughn. Photo by Abhishek Atre.

The University of Guelph is celebrating its first ever Intercultural Awareness Week from Jan. 27 to Jan 31. This cultural showcase aims to raise awareness about cultural diversity at the U of G, while creating an atmosphere where students can feel comfortable sharing their cultural diversity and learning about other cultures.

The Office of Intercultural Affairs from Student Life spearheaded the weeklong campaign with input from a committee comprised of staff and students. The week’s events place emphasis on four key aspects of culture: performing arts, foods of the world, visual art, and religion and spirituality.

Candace Stewart and Megan Fillipi, two coordinators of the Intercultural Awareness Week events, have high hopes for the initiative.

Stewart said that the ultimate goal is “for our university community to appreciate the significance and benefits of cultural diversity at the University of Guelph and in Canada.”

Fillipi added that the team is “excited to celebrate the diversity that exists at the University of Guelph, and to provide a venue for the community to discover, share, and learn about the various cultures represented on our campus.”

The week launched with an event that got students to design a representation of their cultural identity on a T-shirt, and a panel discussion entitled “Co-existing in our Intercultural World,” in the University Centre (UC) Courtyard.

In the following days, students were given a chance learn about various faiths in a “speed dating” game, and attend a cultural exposition that included performances from students of various backgrounds. The events will continue on Thursday Jan. 30 with an Intercultural Food Tasting Event that features cuisine from four different regions in the world: Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and the Southern USA. This event takes place in the Science Complex Atrium and tickets can be bought at the Information Desk on the first floor of the UC.

On Friday Jan. 31, the week will close with a Cultural Art Display in the UC Courtyard, where arts and crafts from various donors and students from the Studio Art program will be displayed. Student volunteers will give henna tattoos and write a word of your choice in calligraphy in a different language.

Hospitality Services is also helping to promote the week. They will offer entrees from various ethnic regions at the Creelman, Prarie and Mom’s Kitchen cafeterias throughout the week.