Diversity Shines at STJ

In addition to celebrating Christmas during the Winter Carnival, the University also takes time out to celebrate holidays observed by other religious/ethnic groups during its annual Festival of Lights. The event will take place today, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. in Taffner Field House.

Created to celebrate and reflect on the traditions of people from different cultural backgrounds, the Festival of Lights is a night of prayer, performances and dinners.

Ching Wen Rosa Yen, Director of Multicultural Affairs, says the festival is consistent with the office’s mission to “foster a culturally pluralistic environment in which ethnic, religious and ideological differences are recognized, understood and appreciated.”

The event is held in collaboration with Multicultural Affairs and various student organizations representing different religious and ethnic groups including the Muslim Student Association, Coptic Society, Los Unidos, LASO, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Jewish Student Association, Sinai’s Radiant Liturgical Praise Dance Team, RAAZ, Haraya, African Students Association, Indian Subcontinent Student Organization, Voices of Victory and the University’s Campus Ministry.

The holidays observed during the event include Rohatsu, Eid, Epiphany, Chanukah, Christmas and the Native American Winter Solstice. Although the Festival of Lights collaborates with the annual Winter Carnival, it differs from that series of events because the Festival of Lights represents a variety of cultures and religions, not just Christmas.

According to Yen, the event was awarded the Creative Program of the Year award last year by the Long Island Council of Student Personnel Administrators.