Illustration by Christine Hipp.
Illustration by Christine Hipp.

UC Santa Cruz fourth-year Wesley Goto has more on his mind than senioritis. The Porter community assistant (CA) has been hard at work designing the Asian-American cultural festival, a “dream project” for the graduating student.

The festival, which will take place in the Porter breezeway from 1–5 p.m. on April 14, will showcase a broader definition of Asian culture with the aim of dispelling stereotypes.

“The Asian Cultural Festival is a big celebration of Asian culture,” Goto said. “I’m not talking about the stereotypical Chinese, Korean, Japanese. We’re trying to pull in a little bit of everything. This is a celebration of true culture — not just [a] play on stereotypes.”

The event will consist of many booths where patrons can learn about many Asian cultures in a fun and interactive way. At Goto’s booth, for instance, he and his team will teach the history and mythology behind the nearly 400 year-old art of origami.

“The festival will host different booths at which students will make crafts while learning about Asian culture,” Goto said. “Each station will be fun, but will also carry with it a historical lesson or something to take away.”

Goto said he hopes the event has a lasting effect on the student body.

“Stereotypes don’t reveal the true fundamentals of culture,” Goto said. “The biggest thing I see with the stereotyping of individuals is that you don’t really know what’s really there,  the core fundamentals of the culture.”

Goto said education should not be  restricted to classrooms and hopes that the event’s outdoor location will draw a diverse crowd of passersby.

“Living on campus … your education is primarily in the classroom,” Goto said. “Our job is to educate beyond the classroom, in a non-traditional way.”

Fellow Porter CA Halan Guedi has invited local artists to showcase their Asian culture-inspired work in art installations, which will be located in the I-Lounge at Porter College.

Porter CA and assistant planner Victoria Anderson said the event will be a “big festival”.

“It’s a celebration of history, tradition, culture,” Anderson said. “We’re here to educate, [but also to] just have fun!”

How will the group measure the success of the event?

“Success means that they are walking away with something that they didn’t know before and they learned it in a fun way,” Goto said. “The biggest thing that I am trying to push is appreciation for things that you don’t necessarily identify with.”