Stevens Students Unite to Celebrate Culture

4/22/2013

Where can you enjoy traditional Filipino, Korean, Indian and African American music and dance all in one night?

On Friday, April 19, 2013, all of the above and much more were on display in Canavan Arena, site of Stevens’ 13th annual Unity Show, the end-of-year extravaganza of the Ethnic Student Council (ESC), an umbrella organization comprised of various ethnic student groups at Stevens which promote and celebrate cultural diversity.

“Thirteen years ago, the ESC saw the potential for all of the ethnic groups to come together to display their cultures, customs and traditions in a one night performance,” said ESC President Esteban Roldan. 

This year’s “Melting Pot”-themed Unity Show sought to show that the Stevens community – as well as each of the individual ethnic student groups that make up the ESC – are cultural melting pots where different people with different backgrounds mix together seamlessly. The night was full of unique and well-rehearsed performances that gave more than 300 audience members a peek into different cultures.

The Korean Student Association (KSA) and the Chinese Student Association (CSA) collaborated to tell a dramatic Korean love story through a dance which featured many funny jokes and a very enthusiastic boy band number.

The Filipino Association of Stevens Tech (FAST) told the story of a boy learning to appreciate his heritage under his mother’s guidance. The number featured a lively hip-hop dance number as well as and traditional Sakuting, a playful Filipino folk dance which imitates martial arts sparring.

The reigning Unity Show champions, the Indian Undergraduate Association (IUA), also told a story through music and dance. The storyline was about a female college student who comes to America from India to study at Stevens and wants to go back to India because she thinks that Indian culture is lost in America. Her friends at Stevens take her to a variety of events to prove to her that America really is a melting pot, and ultimately convince her to stay. The traditional Indian music in the story was performed by two very talented student musicians.

The Malaysian Student Association (MASA) educated the audience about the unique “melting pot” heritage of Southeast Asia. The performance included traditional dances that represent the multicultural Malaysian heritage.

La Unidad Latina (LUL) fraternity and Phi Sigma Sigma and Theta Phi Alpha sororities performed Strolls, a type of line dance which dates back to the early 1900s.  The Black Student Union (BSU) and the Latin American Association (LAA) also performed together, mixing elements of merengue, hip hop and other forms of dance to display parts of both cultures.

During the show, audience members participated in a live poll via text message to vote for the People’s Choice Award. For the first time, other awards were also presented for categories like Most Original Performance and Most Cultural Performance.

The Unity Show is the culmination of an entire week of Unity events, such as a campus-wide carnival on April 17, 2013 featuring food and games. 

“Whether through song, dance or acting, the Unity Show allows for the array of cultures at Stevens to work together to put on a show for the benefit of the Stevens community, including students, family members and staff,” said Roldan.