All eyes focused on Kovida Rao as she glided across the dance floor. The University of Michigan-Dearborn senior loves to perform, but this Bollywood dance was less about her and more about her heritage.
Rao represented one of 27 student and community organizations that participated in the university’s Cultural Expo on March 14.
The event, formerly known as Global Fest, is an annual university tradition that uses food, music and entertainment to celebrate cultural diversity on campus.
“Cultural Expo is an opportunity to embrace the various ways and reasons why our university is recognized as a diverse and inclusive community,” said Tasha Williams, program manager of diversity programs. “It’s a tradition that the students and staff look forward to every year.”
Rao has participated in the event since her freshman year. For her, it’s about connecting others with her culture.
“I love performing and sharing our culture,” she said. “The Cultural Expo is more than just eating the food and learning a few facts. It’s experiencing the culture together.”
Others to hit the stage included the folk music of mariachi band Nuevo Zapopa, student dancers from the Albanian American Student Organization, Black Student Union and the Omani Student Association, storytellers from the African Student Association and performers of the non-contact Brazilian martial art of Capoeira.
Williams said the event continues to grow in participating and attendance. The Office for Student Engagement estimates that more than 900 people attended this year’s Cultural Expo.
One attendee of note was Roop Raj, FOX 2 Detroit news anchor, who served as guest host. He took to twitter Thursday afternoon to say he feels “great about the future of our area” after meeting with UM-Dearborn students.