The Cultural Extravaganza, which has become a staple event not only for the Multicultural Leadership Organization (MCLO) but also for the Wichita community, is coming back for its third year.
The event will begin with dinner and a social gathering at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the Gorges Atrium of De Mattias Hall followed by a 6:30 show in the Performance Hall.
Similar to last year, the buffet-style dinner will include food from more than 10 local restaurants, such as Malaysian Cafe, La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant and Los Compadres Mexican Grill.
The Spice Merchant, who has partnered with MCLO for all three extravaganzas, will be providing coffee and tea.
MCLO Treasurer Shanice Gitungo said connecting with Wichita restaurants allows MCLO to include the community.
“We asked for sponsorships from all the restaurants down West Street and Maple,” explained Gitungo. “We invited them because they are all close to Newman and they probably see Newman students every day. We’re (focusing on) building community.”
MCLO President Kimberly Pham said the event will consist of 20 performances.
Pham said, “There are going to be different (many) types of talent including models from different countries coming to display their cultural attire. There will be strolling from WSU, lion dancing again this year, a bunch of singers and dancers from different cultures and comedy from (Newman student) Jordan Ojile.
“It is a bunch of different cultures from different schools coming together in one spot,” she added. “Kids from Butler, WSU, and KU are coming to perform and to attend along with Newman students.”
Pham said the purpose of the extravaganza is to bring understanding and a piece of home to the audience and the performers.
“It’s important to bring diversity to this campus to make it feel like a home for everyone, especially since we have so many people from out of the country attending Newman as students,” she said. “It is also to showcase an individual’s culture to other people so that the audience can learn.”
The extravaganza is a direct example of MCLO’s vision, Pham said.
“That’s the main goal of MCLO — to embrace cultural diversity on campus and in the Wichita community,” she said.
Gitungo said the extravaganza is a chance for all students to embrace different cultures.
“Since we’re the umbrella of all diversity groups here on campus, we think it’s important for those who are not of different cultures and those who are to see and experience different cultures.”
Pham said MCLO is striving to make the extravaganza “bigger and better every year.”
“Last year, we intended on 120 people attending but we ended up with over 200. So this year, we are planning on serving 300 people, which is double what we had last year, so it’s a lot more complex in planning and time management.”
Similar to previous years, MCLO will be partnering with other clubs.
“We are (collaborating) with other clubs on campus like NUVAC (Newman University Visual Arts Club) who is doing photography, videography and the photo booth,” Pham said.
The prices for both the dinner and show are $5 and $2 for the show only. Both events are open to the public.