Culture and diversity took centre stage Monday as Vancouver Island University kicked off celebrations for World VIU Days.
Students at the university’s cafeteria checked out hip hip music from DJ All Good and Dia-Nos and ate cake during the launch of the seventh annual World VIU Days.
There will be activities daily during the week-long event, from live music to films and food from different nation and world regions, the university’s website shows. The inaugural Intercultural Hip Hop Forum also happens at VIU this week.
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It culminates Friday with the World VIU Festival with cultural exhibits, hip hop and student performances and a world fashion showcase.
Eighteen percent of VIU’s student population is international, 10 per cent are aboriginal and there are also newcomers to Canada, said Mackenzie Sillem, the university’s coordinator for intercultural learning and support education abroad. The event not only explores and celebrates diversity but she said it creates opportunities for connection and that students from diverse cultural backgrounds can be themselves, especially at the festival, and to be proud.
“A lot of the events create opportunities for students from different cultural backgrounds to connect with each other, because you can have lots of diversity in a place but that doesn’t mean interactions are always happening, especially positive interactions,” said Sillem.
Kalpesh Pillai is from India and doing an internship at World VIU. The best part of this week is going to be the hip hop, he said, pointing out hip hop is this year’s theme for World VIU Days because it’s considered one of the most cultural and diverse forms of music and that each country has a different form of it.
Not many people when they’re at VIU studying really think about the world at large, they’re just focused, in Nanaimo, getting their degree and then they’re going to graduate and get a job in Nanaimo or maybe Vancouver, said Charlotte Dale, a fifth-year student who studied Japanese abroad, adding the event is a “cool idea” to broaden that experience up a little for them.
“It’s just really important to think about the world at large and the world is so much bigger than we think on an average day. It’s kind of mind-blowing when you realize that,” she said. “It’s really important to acknowledge we live in a global community and a global society so it’s not each individual country anymore, it’s kind of everybody has to work together on issues.”
World VIU Days runs from Nov. 6-10. For a schedule of events visit goo.gl/GozpFW.