Today Penn students will be able to get a “taste” of different cultures — literally.

The 2014 Celebration of Cultures will feature 28 booths with foods from different minority groups and cultures as well as performances and music. The event will take place today from 5 to 7 p.m. on College Green and is free for all students.

The United Minorities Council puts on this annual event in order to encourage collaboration between different constituents of the UMC and to showcase the different cultures to the general student body.

Celebration of Cultures is considered UMC’s biggest event of the semester and prospective students were able to attend a smaller scale version of the event earlier in the week.

This year’s event will be different because the UMC board is encouraging more disparate groups to collaborate for the event. For example, the Penn Philippine Association might be encouraged to work with the Black Student League instead of a more culturally similar group, as in past years.

The change in format goes along with the theme of “Common Threads.”

The theme emphasizes that all students — including those who are not involved in UMC — have similarities. When planning the event, UMC’s main goal was to increase attendance among students who normally are not involved with UMC.

“We want to reach other audiences that wouldn’t know UMC. We came up with [the theme] ‘Common Threads’ so even if people aren’t in UMC, they see there are commonalities between UMC and them,” UMC chair Reginald Stewart said.

UMC intentionally plans the event during the week of Spring Fling so that there will be more traffic on College Green. Fling tanks will be given out at the event.

Instead of having students simply show up for free food and leave, Stewart and other members of the UMC board changed the format of the fair this year so that the booths are more interactive and teaching-based. They will include maps and engage the visitors in conversation more than in previous years.

Additionally, a performance by WAVE, an African dance group, will hopefully inspire students to stay during the event, while learning more about different dance styles.

UMC believes that by opening a dialogue about different cultures, all students will enjoy the Celebration of Cultures and notice the “common threads” between all Penn students.

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