Unity Fest: Annual Multicultural Event Brings Campus Community Together
The annual Unity Fest at California State University, Dominguez Hills took place on the grounds outside the Loker Student Union on April 14. The event, which usually focuses on teaching tolerance, spreading acceptance, and generally having a great time, had another purpose this year – to raise funds for Haitian relief.
This year’s festival included a silent auction and multicultural book fair with all proceeds going towards the children of Haiti. These efforts, combined with the selling of food, arts and crafts, and music performances, created the perfect atmosphere for a successful Unity Fest.
“Best turn out we’ve ever had,” said Trévon Jackson, a senior majoring in communications. “More people are here than previous years [and] .... buying stuff.”
The strongest feeling that could be felt at this year’s fest was definitely a sense of togetherness.
“It’s so cool,” said Marian Yesufu, a freshman. “This is my first semester and I’m really amazed by the turnout…. There’s a feeling of connection, of family here at the fair. More than I ever saw at Long Beach State.”
CSU Dominguez Hills radio station KDHR entertained the crowd for the first hour, and then live performances took over. The eclectic mix of performers who took to the stage were a representation of the university’s focus on embracing diversity and unity.
The first group, Precision Dance Company, consisted of five female dancers performing a mixture of dances in jazz, hip hop, and ballet styles. The combination of the contemporary routines and dances done to popular music was a good way to kick off the live performances.
William Jenkins, instructional support technician for the communications department, along with a few others, took advantage of the dance floor once he heard the rhythmic salsa music being played by Echo Park Project.
“Seeing the diversity of people who come out shows the unity we have at the school,” said Jenkins. “But when there’s good music like this, it’s easy to get a good turnout.”
Solo artist Mika Cole heated up the stage with her smoky voice, doing sizzling covers of popular songs such as “Rude Boy” by Rihanna. Seattle-based group P.A.T. had a good set as well.
The high point of Unity Fest, however, came during Upstream’s performance. During one of the reggae group’s last songs, a dance line formed of three girls doing a newer version of the electric slide. Bit by bit, like a scene straight out of a romantic comedy, more and more people joined the dancing group, drawn in by the fun – smiles and laughter accompanied the tapping feet and leaning shoulders of the dancing students.
“That’s the type of stuff you pay $20 at a club for,” said Yesufu.
The sense of family and positive atmosphere truly attests to the unity that exists at CSU Dominguez Hills. From the donated books and care packages to the live music and international food, everything at the Unity Fest was meant to represent the campus community’s sense of togetherness and helping others in need. This was not the first time that the Unity Fest has donated its proceeds to help those in need. In 2005, proceeds earned were sent to Thailand to aid in tsunami relief.
Unity Fest was sponsored by Associated Students Inc.(ASI), the Loker Student Union, the Multicultural Center, the Office of Student Life, Toro Productions, and the University Bookstore.
- Andre Knox
Andre Knox is a senior majoring in communications and an intern in the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs.