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  • Shivam Sadana

Sadana: Multicultural Effort culminates in ‘Multicultural Week’ at CBU

Multicultural  Week runs from 28th to 31st of January.

Students studying at CBU come from many diverse cultures, and never has that been highlighted more than during this banner year for international recruitment. Bringing these cultures together to celebrate both similarities and differences is Multicultural Week, during which students from around the world are encouraged to present their cultures in the form of song, dance, cuisine – any aspect of their culture, really, that they would like to share with their peers.

The Multicultural Hub (formerly referred to as the International Student Centre) is one of three Student Centres operating in the Student’s Union, the other two being the Pride and Ally Centre and the Women’s Centre. When Samual Shaji was appointed as the Multicultural Hub Coordinator last September, organising this week was one of his priorities. Samual started planning the week back in September as well, but decided to postpone the event until he had a chance to further his connections with various communities on campus. Instead Samual organized ‘Speaker’s Week’ in an attempt to connect students with local business and community leaders.

From Speaker’s Week, Samual and his contingent of student volunteers became involved with a wide range of initiatives both at the University and within the CBRM. Looking ahead to this week’s festivities, in November Samual booked the cafeteria to facilitate these events, likely to draw some large crowds. On the 18th of December, just before things on campus wrapped up for the holidays, Samual held a general meeting to bring together volunteers and representatives from the various communities that will be featured. Some of the students gathered helped link Samual with the local Mi’kmaw community in order that they, too, would be represented.

The action gets underway Monday, January 28th with Language Day, where attendees can mingle and learn the basics of the different languages spoken at CBU. A hit in previous events such as Egypt Week, those gathered will also have the opportunity to have their name written in different languages as a souvenir. One difficulty organizers faced when planning the event was that there are around 22 recognized Indian languages, written in 13 different scripts, so it was no small task to provide a good showing. All told, there will be around 25 languages displayed including Arabic, French, Mandarin, and nine different languages from India.

Next up is ‘The World of Dance’ on Tuesday, January 29th. The day will include amateur and professional performances taking over the cafeteria to represent various cultures musically and through dance, all while clothed in traditional garb. This may be just Day 2 of Multicultural Week, but likely to feel like the finale in terms of energy and excitement. Around 200 volunteers were involved in making this week happen, including people from China, Vietnam, Africa, Ireland, Ukraine, India, Egypt, and local Mi’kmaw.

Asked what kind of issues he faced in putting this week together, Samual responded, “I put up a lot of volunteering opportunities and I separated them on my list according their origin (country) so that I have diversity in my list. Then I try to contact the most popular person in the community or the person who can be the leader of the community and can engage his/her community in the tasks. It took me four posters to get at least a person from each community.”

We wish Samual, the Multicultural Hub, and all those volunteering the best of luck as they work and celebrate throughout the week. Undoubtedly there is a lot of talent that Cape Breton University will unveil over the next four days.

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