Sep 192004
Authors: Lila Hickey

Various nationalities represented at CSU and in Fort Collins got

the chance to showcase their cultures this Saturday at the 11th

annual World Fest held at the University Village apartments, 1600

W. Plum St.

The event, which started at 1 p.m. with a variety of children’s

games, featured music, dancing and food, was open to students and

members of the community.

“About 65 percent of our residents are international students.

They come from 55 different countries,” said Hosam Ahmad, manager

if University Village.

Informative booths displayed art, music, movies, food and

clothing from countries like Mexico, Romania, the United States,

China, Peru and Kenya.

The Village, which caters to couples, families and older

students, also offers younger students the chance to live in a

diverse environment.

Silvia Osnaga, a mathematics graduate student from Romania, said

she values the experience that can be gained in culturally diverse

events and neighborhoods.

“It doesn’t make you feel lonely or that you are weaker than

anyone else,” Osnaga said. “It’s really nice here in the Village.

If you need something, you can just knock on (a neighbor’s) door

and ask.”

Osnaga and her friend, Ana Cruceanu, said living in University

Village and participating in events like World Fest have helped

them learn about similarities their culture shares with other

countries and ethnic groups.

“We learned a lot about the Asian cultures,” Osnaga said. “The

way they think about family – they value the family a lot.”

Other residents set up booths hoping to educate others about

their cultures and erase common misconceptions.

Alvin Holder, a chemistry graduate student from the Caribbean,

said he is used to interacting with different cultures, having

lived in the Caribbean and England, where ethnic diversity is more


Still, he often encounters misunderstandings about his


“Some people think that we’re just calypso people. The Caribbean

is really not what people think,” Holder said.

Ulises Martinez, a mechanical engineering graduate student from

Mexico, has had similar experiences.

“There are people who think Mexico is just about mariachi and

pi�atas,” he said.

In an effort to break such stereotypes, Martinez’ booth featured

information about famous Mexicans like Nobel Prize winner Octavia

Paz and athlete Ana Guevara, who took silver in the 2004 Olympics

women’s 400-meter race.

World Fest featured a multicultural dinner, with many Village

residents bringing potluck dishes and several local restaurants

providing authentic ethnic food.

For the staff and volunteers who organized the Fest,

facilitating the exploration and understanding other cultures is


“The biggest goal is to make people think that we are all equal

and each one us has a lot to teach and learn from one another,”

Ahmad said.


More information about University

Village can be found at the university’s housing Web site.


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