There are 65 different countries represented within the student population of Conestoga College. To celebrate the wide variety of differences and similarities among the student body, Student Life, along with 15 other departments, hosted Cultural Diversity Week. From Feb. 24 to 28, each group put on activities to engage and educate students about different cultures.
“We definitely have a diverse population at Conestoga and we do want to celebrate it,” said Laura Black, Student Life programmer at the college. “We have a large variety of international education students in particular. A lot of the time there is homesickness involved or they are so busy integrating and celebrating Canadian culture that sometimes it is nice to try to learn more about their culture and show that we are taking a step forward to really go out of our way to learn and integrate about their cultures as well.”
Some partners who were involved in the event offered activities in their offices during the week. Also, students in classes got together and researched different cultures creating displays that were showcased.
“They usually take a culture or a country that they identify with or feel interested in learning more about and take an aspect of that culture, so something like arts, recreation and leisure, history, clothing or food and diet, and they do a presentation on it,” Black said. “The display is full of information about the specific theme they have chosen and their interactive activities are supposed to be a way to get students engaged in that topic.”
On Feb. 25, Estephanie Abarca, a first-year human service foundation student, took part in the event and represented her own country, El Salvador.
“It (Cultural Diversity Week) is important because I like to talk about my country since it has a lot of different cultures and things to talk about,” Abarca said.
The main focus of the week was the displays which were done by students in different programs of the school.
“If they have any feedback about the event, we encourage that because we do definitely try to take that into consideration when planning multiple Culture Diversity Weeks throughout the year. We try to grow it each time, so any partnerships or any feedback is definitely appreciated,” Black said.
The event is run twice a year, in the fall and winter semesters. Any student interested in participating in the future is encouraged to contact Student Life. They are located across from Tim Hortons on the second level.