An event one year in the making has almost arrived. Newman University’s Multicultural Leadership Organization (MCLO) Cultural Extravaganza will take place 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in the De Mattias Performance Hall.
The Cultural Extravaganza, which is free and open to the public, is for all ages and members of the community. The upcoming event aims to celebrate diversity and raise cultural awareness while providing an evening of food and entertainment.
Newman’s commitment to supporting diversity on campus is one that students also share, and they are eager to showcase the many different cultures that come together on campus. One of these students is Jose Rojas-Montero, MLCO’s current president.
He said, “This year the idea is to show and display Newman’s diversity and make everyone feel represented and validated by the acts on stage. This was especially important to us during the early stages of planning the event.”
The Cultural Extravaganza will not only feature performances from Newman students, such as a performance by the Sloppy Joes, but will include performances from among the greater Wichita community. Rojas-Montero was excited that the Extravaganza became an opportunity to collaborate with groups beyond the halls of Newman.
“This year, we are hosting a dance group from East High and a student from Wichita State University,” explained Rojas-Montero. “We will also have a local group to showcase Hispanic culture in Wichita.”
The Cultural Extravaganza is also a way for Newman students to give back to the Wichita community. While the event itself is free, MCLO will be accepting donations for a local chapter of the International Rescue Committee, an international organization designed to help displaced refugees.
Ami Larrea, academic and international adviser, serves as the adviser for MCLO.
“I love being a part of MCLO,” said Larrea. “It is a wonderful organization that brings together people from all different backgrounds and experiences. It’s a way to celebrate diversity on campus. It also offers opportunities for service projects and events with food, which are always popular.”
Larrea added, “What I enjoy most about the group is celebrating the diversity of the Newman community and the student body. The students have done all of the necessary coordinating (for the event). They are a phenomenal team, and they have reached out to other organizations to make sure that everyone is represented.”
Rojas-Montero wanted to emphasize that this event was created with the Newman community in mind. “We thought a lot about what the students and campus organizations would enjoy because we want to show the different qualities of Newman that appeal to different people.”
He added, “MCLO is open to all kinds of people, and we have tried to be inclusive and welcoming throughout the year it has taken to plan this event.”
Larrea said, “The Cultural Extravaganza is more than just a talent show. It’s a way to demonstrate the richness of the cultures that are present on campus. The different forms of entertainment this year try to achieve that.”