'Fusion' weekend at Fort Hays State set to celebrate, navigate, enjoy diversity of cultures

An intercollegiate arts competition, a banquet and discussion groups will highlight two days of activities called Fusion: A Weekend Celebrating Diversity on Friday and Saturday, March 11-12 at Fort Hays State University.

But it begins, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with fun: intercollegiate competitions in a salsa dance-off, sponsored by the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, and in a poetry slam, sponsored by the German Club, both in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall.

Fusion weekend is a project of FHSU's Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Unity Project, a coalition of seven student organizations committed to celebrating diversity and promote unity. Sponsors are the university's Office of Student Affairs, the University Activities Board and the Kelly Center.

"This is the biggest multicultural event we have hosted," said Ame (pronounced
AH-may) Lambert, coordinator of multicultural affairs at FHSU.

The event is open to the public as well as to campus communities across the state. The cost is $5 for all students, from middle school through university, and $10 for everyone else. Tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 14, at Wal-Mart and on Thursday, Feb. 17, at the McMindes Dining Hall. Student registration is available online by following the link (Fusion: A weekend celebrating diversity) on the main page of the FHSU Web site, www.fhsu.edu.

The ticket price covers admission to all events and the banquet.

"And we want the public to attend because we are honoring members of the community who have been supportive of our unity project groups and are committed to diversity," said Lambert. "We believe that by coming to an event where wonderful aspects of different cultures and different genres of the fine and performing arts are on display, people will come to appreciate how wonderful diversity is. It enhances all our lives."

Saturday morning is filled with discussion groups on various aspects, concerns and challenges of diversity.

"We hope to encourage more communication with different schools and the multicultural students and departments as well as with people across the state, who are interested in and/or committed to diversity," she said.

"For us on campus," she continued, "we hope the discussion groups would get the conversation going about stereotypes and discrimination and prejudice. For the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Unity Project, we also hope a big event like this will make us more visible, which we believe will increase our effectiveness."

"And finally," said Lambert, "we just want to have fun."

With the emphasis on the fun part, the focus returns to dancing on Saturday afternoon, with intercollegiate competitions in step show, sponsored by the Black Student Union, and in traditional Asian dance, sponsored by the International Student Union, the Chinese Student Association and the Japanese Student Organization.

The banquet begins at 7:30. It will feature diverse performances and will honor faculty and community members committed to diversity and high school students who will be tomorrow?s leaders. The after-party, featuring music from all over the world and a live band, begins at 10:30 in the Memorial Union's Black and Gold Room.

So far, six other colleges and universities have entered teams in the various competitions: Garden City Community College, Washburn University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas.

For other information or for questions, call Lambert at (785) 628-5558 or e-mail alambert@fhsu.edu.

Schedule of events:

Friday, March 11
7:30 p.m. -- Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center, Sheridan Hall
HALO presents intercollegiate salsa dance off, German Club presents intercollegiate modern language poetry slam

Saturday, March 12
9 a.m. -- Minority session: What do minorities need to succeed in a majority world -- focus on empowerment; Memorial Union, Pioneer Room.
9 a.m. -- Majority session: What?s the deal with white privilege?; Memorial Union, Trails Room.
10 a.m. -- Multiracial, multi-ethnic discussion group: Challenging some of the common stereotypes about each group; Memorial Union, Pioneer Room.
11 a.m. -- Individual group sessions
Pioneer Room -- Challenges specific to Hispanic students.
Frontier Room, Cavalry Room, State Room -- Challenges specific to African-American students.
Trails Room -- Challenges specific to Asian students.
11 a.m. -- Advisor/faculty/staff session: What can we do to promote diversity on our campuses?; Prairie Room
1 p.m. -- Intercollegiate step-show competition and traditional Asian dance competition; Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center, Sheridan Hall.
7:30 p.m. -- Banquet in honor of diversity; Fort Hays Ballroom, Memorial Union.
10:30 p.m. -- After-party; Black and Gold Room, Memorial Union.

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu