By Diego Loera
Diversity Reporter

At the Oakes College Lower Lawn on Saturday, May 17 from noon to 6 p.m., the Multicultural Festival (MCF) committee, composed of 14 different student organizations, with support from the Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR), will bring student organizations of different cultures and races together for the 29th Multicultural Festival.

Adrian Dorris, the program manager at SOAR, has helped set up the festival for the past three years. The focus of the festival is to bring together different types of student organizations and to represent underrepresented groups on campus, Dorris said.

MCF committee member Reymundo Sauceda emphasized the importance of multicultural events on campus.

“[The festival] is important because it’s the only collaborative event on campus made up of different organizations that meet up to make themselves be noticed,” Sauceda said.

Sauceda commented that the event celebrates different cultures in an effort to inform people of the existence of the groups, and that their members are not just numbers.

Minorities have been underrepresented on campus in the past, Dorris said. This year, the Hmong Student Association, a small group compared to African-American or Latino organizations, will perform cultural dances. Dorris said that it was important for this year’s event to focus on bringing attention to small groups such as these.

“People see the [Multicultural Festival] as a concert,” Dorris said. “It’s not about the concert, it’s about the beauty of these groups that collaborate.”

The origin of the event can be traced to almost 30 years ago. Racial groups met in order to establish commonalities, Dorris said. Through collaboration, they created the festival to inform the public about underrepresented minorities.

Since then, the event has been growing steadily over the past few years. Last year, almost 5,000 people attended the festival.

Dorris explained that finding a facility for the festival has been an obstacle in recent years. The festival was usually held at the amphitheater near the Baytree Bookstore, but because of environmental concerns, the amphitheater could no longer continue hosting events. The events were moved to the Oakes Lower Lawn, because its spacious open field can hold large events like MCF.

Adan Cisneros, a third-year student at UC Santa Cruz, is interested in going to the festival to meet others who share his views.

“Cultural tolerance is important,” Cisneros said. “We [Latin American citizens] must not assimilate. This country must be tolerant of others.”

The event will promote cultural tolerance by bringing awareness of different types of groups existing on campus.

The event reaches out to everyone, regardless of race, Sauceda explained.

“It’s a campus-wide event,” he said.

Sauceda hopes the event can change attitudes.

“I hope people feel a sense of community and awareness, because I feel that in our society we ignore each other,” Sauceda said. “I hope people just enjoy themselves and leave with a sense of belonging, and with an awareness of one another.”