The UNC Charlotte International Festival is an annual celebration of the people, places and cultures represented in the greater Queen City community.
Now in its 38th year, the International Festival continues to expand. As do the opportunities for student and campus engagement. Culturally focused student organizations, such as the Asian Student Association and the Hmong Student Organization, represent their countries and cultures at booths. Often, they sell food prepared by student members while interacting with festival attendees.
The 2013 UNC Charlotte International Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, in the area around the Barnhardt Student Activity Center.
“Last year, festival attendance was estimated at more than 20,000 – a substantial growth from the campus’ first celebration in 1975,” said Maureen Gibson, coordinator of international initiatives in the Office of International Programs.
Gibson said the festival will start with a performance by the Loch Norman Pipe Band with other performances throughout the day, including an African storyteller, the Alborado Andean Band, and Caribbean music to name a few. Arts, crafts, costumes, food and dance from nearly 50 countries and ethnic groups will be presented, too. For the second year, there will be an international games area where attendees of all ages can participate and learn about the cultural significance of various activities.
“More than 700 hours of student volunteer work and countless hours by our partners across campus and in the community make the International Festival possible,” Gibson noted. “Student volunteers are committed to supporting the University’s globalization efforts and contribute in many ways – from pre-festival promotion to post-festival cleanup.”
Students can sign up to volunteer online, and OIP officials request faculty and staff help promote student attendance and participation at the festival. The office oversees extra credit sign-in sheets at the festival information book, and staff members can suggest engagement/reflection ideas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The Office of International Programs, with support from the Arts & Science Council, the N.C. Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, sponsors the International Festival. A schedule of events is on the Web.