Newman campus celebrates diversity with MCLO Cultural Extravaganza

Mar 31, 2022
Performers wear their best dresses at MCLO's fifth annual Cultural Extravaganza.

The Newman Multicultural Leadership Organization (MCLO) celebrated its fifth annual Cultural Extravaganza Saturday, March 26. 

The event attracted approximately 400 people including 50 volunteers, 75 performers across 20 performances and 18 organizations at the booths. 

Junior Michelle Tong, vice president of MCLO said, “Our entrance people stopped counting after 246 attendees, with a little more than an hour left in the event.”

MCLO received over 20 sponsors including the Student Government Association, which accumulated over $2,000 in donations and discounts. 

Photo courtesy of MCLO's Facebook page
Photo courtesy of MCLO’s Facebook page

What MCLO, Cultural Extravaganza mean to students, staff and attendees

Many loved the extravaganza as it highlighted different cultures in the form of foods, performances and dances — some of which attendees may not have experienced before.

“It means everything to me,” senior Carolina Mariscal, president of MCLO said. “It’s very important to see representation on campus where you don’t usually see it day to day. Having a day dedicated to celebrate our differences just means a lot to me.”

Sophomore Olivia Parsley said, “I like learning more about other people here at Newman and the different cultures. I also like getting to interact with more people that I don’t see on a normal basis.”

Newman alumni who participated in MCLO's first Cultural Extravaganza attended this year's event. Ami Alvidrez is pictured in back row, far right.
Newman alumni who participated in MCLO’s first Cultural Extravaganza attended this year’s event. Ami Alvidrez is pictured in back row, far right.

Even some former Newman staff and students were in attendance, one of whom was the former advisor for MCLO, Ami Alvidrez. Alvidrez served as the club’s advisor during the first Cultural Extravaganza five years ago.

Alvidrez described witnessing the growth of the Cultural Extravaganza over the years.

“It means the world to me,” Alvidrez said. “Students really get to showcase who they are and where they’re from to the rest of the community and to Wichita. It’s grown so much it started off in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, then the Performance Hall and now today it is held outside on Founder’s Plaza. It’s just amazing to see the students organize and coordinate the event and showcase what it means to them.”

Junior Nkama Kimfuema, the international student ambassador for MCLO, said that the event and the MCLO club is his sense of home.

“The extravaganza means everything to me,” he said. “It’s a multicultural safe place here at Newman and in Wichita, because being from Canada the whole idea there is multiculturalism. So when I first came to Newnan it was nice to have a club to go to as my safe place and find my people.”

Kimfuema added, “I’ve found my long-lasting friends through MCLO.”

A taste of the experience

From the food to the performances, many cultures were represented, and many had their favorites among the performances and different foods. 

Freshman Alondra Valle, a social work major with a business minor said her favorite dish of the day was pita bread with hummus.

Performers entertain guests with swords at MCLO’s Cultural Extravaganza.

Junior Tudsaley Vongsena, an elementary education major at Wichita State University said, “I really liked the sword dance that the little boys did, they were really getting it. I also tried a lot of the food but my favorite was the spam musubi.”

Some were fascinated by performances they had never seen before. Director of Security Mo Floyd said he enjoyed the WSU Vietnamese Student Association Hat Dance, as it opened him to something new.

WSU VSA Hat Dance performers

“I was enthralled by it,” Floyd said. “It was just so simple and neat, and it was a new experience to me. Here I am 60 years old and learning something new, so I find that kinda cool.”

Sophomore Angela Tran, MCLO’s public relations officer, said some of her favorite foods of the day were the lo mein and egg rolls from Asian Bistro.

Kimfuema, who helped work the food stands at the event, said he didn’t get to try much of the food, but what he did try was delicious.

“I had the chance to try at least the boba and the eggrolls, and of course that slapped [was amazing],” Kimfuema said. “It’s always bussin’ [great] every year.”

Video: 2022 Cultural Extravaganza

Click here to view the full 2022 Cultural Extravaganza photo album on Facebook.