“Unity Fest” took place in the Campus Commons on Monday afternoon, making it nearly impossible for students to pass up food, prizes, crafts, music and information about diversity on campus.
“We had food for 400 people and we ran out,” said Leslie Chanthaphasouk, the coordinator for Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services. “We had 400 passports and we passed those all out, I would say 300 to 400 people came out.”
Seven interactive booths entertained students during the festival from the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Center for International Services, Housing and Residence Life, International Services, Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): Discovering Global Citizenship, the Mind Art Exhibit, and the Veterans Service Task Force.
Religious and Spiritual Life created a spin wheel for students noting the different religions on campus and provided more information about them.
“Depending on what you landed on you get a question that is related to different faiths and religions,” Chanthaphasouk said.
Most of the other interactive booths followed this format, but showed diversity through different styles – allowing students to play with international toys like QEP: Discovering Global Citizenship, playing military trivia games with the Veterans Service Task Force and more.
The Mind Art exhibit created by FrogSpeak, Active Minds and Courtney Gumbleton used painting canvases and positive words, phrases and quotes to decrease the negative stigma around mental health.
“The theme was, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, words hurt too,’” said Emily Marquez, president of FrogSpeak and strategic communication major. “We had negative words like psycho, lunatic, and other negative words on one canvas that people would cross through and write over with positive words.”
During the three-hour event these booths were constantly interacting with students and staying very busy.
“They were colorful groups, very engaging,” Chanthaphasouk said. “The only thing I told them was, ‘have a booth, make it engaging and educational,’ and each booth went with what they felt was appropriate.”
Last year at CommUNITY Week’s attempt at a “block party” was a big draw for students, but the participation and education that Chanthaphasouk wanted was low.
This year’s “Unity Fest” encouraged the use of passports that increased participation and education and also provided free food for students.
“To get free food: Engage with at least three different educational booths and collect a stamp when you finish,” according to the Unity Fest passport. “Exchange your stamps for two meal tickets. No stamps, no food.”
The Unity Fest passports were very successful seeing that all of the passports were given out, interactive booths were busy, and lines for food were extremely long.
Unity Fest’s menu consisted of everything from chicken and pastor tacos from Salsa Limón to veggie pad thai from Thai Select.
These local caterers are hoping to expand their business to TCU’s campus.
“That’s why we do local caterers,” Chanthaphasouk said. “We also want to support them and bring the Fort Worth community to our campus as well.”
The environment that Unity Fest created was described as “energetic” and “festive.”
“I had so much fun,” said Briyet Sigala, a junior psychology major. “I’m glad that I attend a school that has events like Unity Fest that brings people from all different backgrounds together.”
“When you’re together and with people you enjoy with good food and good music, people can just have fun,” Chanthaphasouk said.
Highlights from Unity Fest can viewed here.