Uniting Weber State University students and faculty through various dishes from around the world, Cultural Connections hosted A Taste of Culture to showcase and honor WSU’s diversity.
Cultural Connections, which is a WSU Diversity and Inclusive Programs initiative, works with local and campus organizations to celebrate and educate the community on issues of diversity and inclusion.
WSU clubs American Indian Council, Asian Student Involvement Association and The Ohana Association, were in attendance. Kade Crittenden, WSUSA’s legislative vice president, wanted the event to be a safe space for students of varying backgrounds to mingle.
“I wanted people to be able to have a safe space to share their culture and show who they are,” Crittenden said. “I wanted people to be able to celebrate their traditions, celebrations and artifacts with people who don’t share that same culture, so they can come and learn about a culture they may not know a lot about.”
Crittenden said he started planning this event at the beginning of the year, taking about a month to organize details with the clubs.
“Events like this help others realize that people and their cultures are important in our community; they aren’t people to forget about,” Crittenden said. “They’re a part of our community, and we can’t just push them aside. We need them.”
Mahealani Macariola, a WSU freshman studying business administration, is from Oahu, Hawaii. Macariola joined TOA and ASIA after hearing about the organizations at orientation.
“I decided to join during my first two weeks of school because of common culture,” Macariola said. “It really helped me feel closer to home.”
Macariola heard about A Taste of Culture during a TOA meeting and decided to attend.
“I thought it’d be interesting to come because I thought it’d be interesting to learn about other cultures instead of being close-minded and just celebrating my own culture,” Macariola said.
Macariola performed a Kawohikukapulani hula dance during the event.
“My sister choreographed this dance for me to perform at my graduation party to help me thank my family,” Macariola said. “It took me about five days to learn, and I decided to perform it here to celebrate and represent my culture.”
Finau Tauteoli, a WSU accounting major, joined TOA after an adviser told her of the group. Tauteoli said she enjoys events like A Taste of Culture because it brings the community together.
“Events like this give people the opportunity to learn and get a taste of a new culture,” Tauteoli said. “Even if you aren’t a part of the culture, you can still come and learn. We’re a big group of loving people.”