Award-winning Multicultural Week returns for its fourth year

The hum of excitement, the aromas of great international food, more than 60 exhibits along the flag-covered central walk in York Lanes – it can all mean only one thing: York is U Multicultural Week is here again.  

Starting next Monday and running until Thursday, the student alumni program York is U will again celebrate the diversity of York students as it has for the past four years. The week’s activities will start off with a parade and the magic will grow as the program moves through the various fashion shows, dance events and performances that add variety to the backbone of the week – the exhibits by York’s many student organizations.

Left: Student in ethnic dress at Multicultural Week 2003

Monday and Tuesday feature the Multicultural Village Display in York Lanes, which is open from 10am to 4pm. The party continues Wednesday with a Food Fair at the Underground from 11am to 3pm. And, the week’s events come to a rousing finale on Thursday with stage shows at the Student Centre from 2 to 8pm.

What began as an idea among student leaders to connect and engage the diverse student community on campus has evolved into an exciting week-long celebration showcasing a cultural village that is visited by thousands.

Saba Rafiq, a fourth-year student in the International Development Studies Program of York’s Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts, is student signature events director for York is U, and is excited to be leading this year’s event. “This is one of my favourite events, I look forward to it all year,” he said. ” It’s like a week-long party and all York students are invited.”

“It’s events like this that make York University unique and exciting,” said Neera Singal, a first-year biology major in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, and this year’s Food Fair coordinator.

Right: Jeremy Greenberg,  coordinator, student alumni programs at York, helps get things started at last year’s Multicultural Week

As the most anticipated event of the year, Multicultural Week has gained international recognition by winning the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Gold Award in 2004 for Alumni Relations Programming and the silver medal in the Student Involvement Programs category in 2003 from CASE. This year, the participants themselves will be the ones winning awards. York is U will be awarding trophies for best stage performances, best table displays and best spirit.

“This is a time for all of York to get together and celebrate the diversity within our community,” explains Mary Jeyananthan, one of the event coordinators and a third-year humanities student in the Labour Studies Program of York’s Faculty of Arts.

First-year applied math major Philippe Gauthier has been looking forward to this week since he was accepted to York last summer. “This was one of the first things I was told about,” he said.

Right: The 2004 Multicultural Week kick-off parade of nations

This story was submitted to YFile by Iqra Khalid, media relations coordinator for York is U.