Tables adorned with foods, flags and artifacts that represented 19 cultures around the world filled the Lawlor Events Center on Friday, Nov. 21 for the 32nd annual Night of All Nations.
Over 850 people gathered at the venue to celebrate the diversity that can be found within the University of Nevada, Reno and Reno community. Some people chose to come to the event dressed in their culture’s traditional clothing, such as Hawaiian hula skirts, Japanese kimonos and Indian Sherwani to visually represent their heritage.
According to Jannet Román, president of the International Club, Night of All Nations is one of the many events that the club holds to connect international students to domestic students. Román said that the event not only brings students together, but also provides international students with the opportunity to express who they are culturally.
“It’s really awesome for them to be able to show their culture to the community and represent who they are and I think it’s something that they can be very proud of,” Román said.
Senior Cris Ruggieri said that, although he enjoys experiencing other cultures and meeting international students, the level of diversity that the event displayed is not easily seen outside of it.
“I think this is perfect time to actually meet with all the international students because during the school year, it’s really difficult for international students to actually talk with Americans,” Ruggieri said. “This event really opens it up so that that can happen.”
Attendees were able to experience the 19 cultures through foods such as Mexican pan dulce, arts and craft activities such as Henna and Chinese calligraphy, 14 performances featuring different dance styles, a display of Taekwondo and music from around the world. Freshman Abigail Camacho and other members of the Hawaii Club performed a traditional hula dance.
According to Camacho, hula is used in Hawaii to tell stories through dance and as way for her people to express themselves. Camacho said that it is a form of art that is meaningful to many Hawaiians and is only one of the aspects of the Hawaiian culture that makes it unique from other states in United States.
“I feel like even though we are not our own nation, we still have our own culture as a state, so I feel like it’s still really important that we keep our own culture alive,” Camacho said.
Ann Snelgrove, a freshman at Wooster High School, and her grandfather Dave Snelgrove attended the event for a project Ann has to complete for school. They both enjoyed watching performers dance to their traditional music and trying different cuisines they didn’t know existed. Dave Snelgrove said that what most impressed him about the event is the amount of diversity it provided the attendees with.
“I had no idea there so cultures living in Reno and I think it’s fantastic, and that’s one of the things that makes America great is all different cultures coming together,” Dave Snelgrove said. “You don’t get to see it in one location when really it’s outstanding how many people are from all over the world.”
Ahmet Soran, computer science Ph.D. student and member of UNR’s Turkish Cultural Association, said that his culture is a crucial part of his life and he’s glad to share it with others. The association decorated their table with artifacts such as “evil eyes” talismans and traditional Turkish clothing to educate event attendees on Turkish culture.
“Here, we are thousands of miles away from our country but we still have all these things because we are living with our culture,” Soran said.
Rocio Hernandez can be reached email@example.com and on Twitter @rociohdz19.