Embracing Diversity: SUNY Oneonta Prepares for the First Annual Global Movement Festival

Kate Koenig, Editor-in-Chief

This November, the Multicultural Student Council and World Percussion Ensemble will be hosting the first annual Global Movement Festival. The event will be on Monday, November 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Hunt Union Ballroom. There will be live music and dance from cultures around the world, in addition to an international fashion show, poetry slam and food from several cultural groups on campus.

First envisioned by Dr. Julie Licata of the music department and Mifuyu Otsuka, president of the Japanese Student Association, the Global Movement Festival grew out of Licata’s long-held goal of multicultural integration, which has so far culminated in the West African events hosted by the department last semester.

In the spring of 2012, artist-in-residence Godwin Abotsi collaborated with Licata to host a West-African-themed event that incorporated the music and dance of the World Percussion Ensemble, among other contributions from student poets and performers. Ghanaian food was also served, and student clubs sold West African crafts and jewelry outside the Ballroom. This semester, with Abotsi no longer present, Licata plans to continue the experience through collaboration with multicultural student clubs and international students as well as the World Percussion Ensemble and World Dance Ensemble.

Hartwick College hopes to join the department in future collaboration, having loaned instruments for the World Percussion Ensemble to use in their Balinese gamelan, a musical ensemble from Indonesia that incorporates the use of solely metal instruments with simple melodic design.

Intended to be an entirely multicultural experience, the festival will have several activities occurring at once throughout the Ballroom. There’s planned to be an international student fashion show, where students from different countries will be displaying both traditional and contemporary clothing from all over the world onstage and later mingling with the crowd. Live music and dance is a central aspect to the event, but performances will not be given in a formal setup where the audience is required to remain seated and attentive. The event is meant to be more social and communal, where people will be free to explore the different goings on without being asked to sit though a performance.

At the same time, there will be a multicultural student club expo set up for the event where students will be able to visit the various tables and displays to learn about the different cultures represented by each club.

While the event is free, donations will be accepted; food tickets are being sold for a donation of three dollars and guests will also have the option of donating non-food items such as shampoo, toothbrushes, band aids, thermometers, feminine hygiene products, tissues, blankets, batteries, pens, loose-leaf paper, etc. With the understanding that typical college students may not have cash readily available, this is meant to provide students with a more accessible choice for donation. 100 percent of the donations will be given to the Riverside Elementary School Food Pantry.
International food will be served buffet style, mostly in the form of appetizers and desserts, with several different cultures represented.

Through the Global Movement Festival, Licata and Otsuka hope to not only celebrate the physical movement involved in the dance and music, but also to set into motion a mission of multicultural integration with the campus and local communities.

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