In Focus: BSU Celebrates 50th Festival Of Nations
Bemidji State University is filled with students from all over the world. Every year, they celebrate that diversity by hosting their annual “Festival of Nations.”
“It’s the one place where everybody gets to wear their dresses and come and talk about their culture, and then you meet new people who are from different cultures,” says Sarvika Shetty, president of the International Student Organization (ISO) at BSU.
“This kind of thing, like, excites me! We get excited! We get to wear our clothes, we get to eat our food! That is good!” says Alisha Ghaju, vice president of ISO at BSU.
This year, the festival celebrated 50 years. It started with the traditional flag ceremony, then went into special cultural performance put on by BSU students, faculty and staff.
“I think there’s definitely Malaysian, Nepal. There is some things that cross over like flute can come from India too, and then the choir did, like, Scotland,” says Shetty.
It wouldn’t be a cultural festival without a feast! This year’s menu had more items from more countries than ever before.
Ghaju says, “This year, we have eight items from different countries like Russia, from India, from Africa and from Thailand, so we had pretty much good food.”
The Festival holds a very special place in the history of BSU. Faculty love seeing the tradition and say attendees can expect even more growth in the future.
Tony Peffer, Provost and vice president of academic and student affairs at BSU, says, “What I like most about it is it’s run by students, and there’s certainly a reference to traditional culture but it’s also the contemporary culture of many different places.”
“Hopefully next year the weather will be better so that lots of alumni will come back as well, and then we’ll look for some performance group from the cities or other regions to participate,” says Solar Hong, the coordinator for Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.