By Zachary Krauss
On Friday, March 23, the international student org, MISO, will be relaunching an event called the World Fair after three years of dormancy.
The event will be three hours long and will be hosted in the Center for Biblical and Theological Students. There will be live music, cultural dance, arts and crafts and foods. Kelly Murphy, junior communication student and the events coordinator for MISO, helped plan the events and venues that will be attending.
The event will include a petting zoo featuring exotic animals like a kangaroo. Students will be able to learn dance steps from different cultures and participate in dancing with music directly from those culture. There will be arts and crafts along with clothing depicting what people actually wear internationally, and ethnic food will be provided. Students from the student body are encouraged to reach out to MISO if they have any ideas for activities that they think could add to the event.
“I think it’s just such a great time being able to see all of the cultures come together like they will here,” Murphy said. “We’re always looking for more ideas from people who have more to share about a certain culture, and I think that’s what makes this event so special.”
The World Fair was originally started four years ago in 2014 by MISO and their academic advisor Brenda Reid. MISO functions to educate students on campus about cultural differences while also fostering community with those who are international or interested in diversity.
In the 2015-2016 school year, the World Fair wasn’t able to receive adequate funding, so the World Fair hasn’t happened in three years. This year’s World Fair is funded solely by a grant from Walmart for cultural education. The officers of the org said that because of the scale of the World Fair, outside financial assistance is important and necessary.
Rebekah Cates, president of MISO and senior nursing major, said she is hoping for people to understand the significance of supporting cultural understanding without being “diverse.” She wants to make it clear that different cultures and nationalities can be appreciated by anyone, because everyone is diverse in their own way.
“We have people all the time say they can’t be a part of the org because they’re not ‘international’, but the truth is, even Americans are international to the rest of us,” Cates said. “MISO is here to show the student body what makes each of us special and unique.”
Cates became involved with MISO as the Vice President last year, and is passionate about shining a spotlight on the global body of Christ at Cedarville that so often goes unnoticed.
“I don’t think people understand how much diversity there truly is here at Cedarville, and I want people to see that,” she said. “I want anyone interested in culture at all to feel welcome to attend and learn as much as they can, and that’s what this event is all about.”
JooHee Jung, junior nursing major and current VP of MISO, is excited to see the campus grow in unity through this event. She hopes that the event can be more than just educational, but rather eye-opening.
“There’s so much unity that can come from understanding other people’s background, and that’s something that can happen at an event like this,” Jung said. “There’s so much opportunity for us to all grow closer to each other as a campus, and I want the World Fair to give us that.”
Amanda Kwak, senior and previous president of MISO, said that she’s extremely excited to see the World Fair make a return. She’s seen a need for the event in her years at Cedarville and wants to see people learn about cultures they don’t understand. She also appreciates the ability for the students themselves to showcase their nationalities and culture.
“The world fair allows people from other cultures to express themselves in a really unique way,” Kwak said. “There’s a certain pride and passion that comes from explaining and sharing your own culture, and I can’t wait to see that happen.”
Zach Krauss is a junior pharmacy/music double major from central Texas and campus reporter for Cedars. He loves music, theatre, biology, community, and meeting new people.
*This article was corrected on 3/16/18 – The previous version incorrectly stated that the World Fair started 10 years ago and misstated that some funding for the event had been provided by the SGA.*
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