Each year, the Ethnic Student Council hosts UNITY, a performance that welcomes ethnic groups from all corners of the earth to perform in front of their peers as a way to display their cultures. This year’s show was based on the theme “Life, Liberty, and Unity,” and each organization did its best to convey the importance of cultural understanding through dialogue, dance, and song.
Joshua Negron and Ruby Romero served as the masters of ceremony and introduced each organization before its performance. Their humor and presence helped keep the audience engaged as each group transitioned on and off the stage.
The organizations that participated in the UNITY showcase were as follows: Black Student Union, Filipino Association of Stevens Tech, Chinese Student Association, Korean Student Association, Latin American Association, Indian Undergraduate Association, and Hillel.
Each group highlighted the best parts of its heritage through creative choreography and music. While the Black Student Union focused on marriage traditions, the Latin American Association weaved the story of the Cruz family emigrating from Puerto Cuba to the United States. The students who participated in the showcase proudly embraced their heritages as they danced, sang, and acted on the stage set up in Canavan Arena. Several of the skits incorporated themes such as cultural pride, ignorance, and cultural acceptance and understanding. FAST’s performance told the story of Hilary, a young Filipina born woman who traveled to America to achieve her American Dream and ultimately brings back Filipino culture to her new community.
As much as the UNITY showcase is about celebrating student culture and heritage, it also allows the organizations to compete against one another for several awards. Each cultural group dedicated hours of practice in preparation for the UNITY showcase; FAST reportedly stayed up until 4 a.m. just to ensure that they were ready for the show.
As the judges deliberated during a short intermission, the Stevens acapella group Quackapella and dance group TECHnique performed in front of the audience, serving as yet another example of the talent and dedication present on Stevens campus.
The end of the showcase was dedicated to the presentation of awards. The incumbent and incoming Ethnic Student Council executive board members all joined on stage, thanking the many individuals and groups that made the UNITY showcase possible. The awards were then presented to the winning groups. The Indian Undergraduate Associate and the Filipino Association of Stevens Tech tied for the most active cultural organization award, and the Polish American Cultural Society was awarded the most improved organization on campus. The Latin American Association won the “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Unity” award, which was awarded to the group who best incorporated the showcase’s theme. The final award, best in show, was awarded to FAST. The group took the stage to collect their award.
Current president Dharm Patel had high expectations for this year’s showcase. “One of my personal goals for this Unity was to pack Canavan Arena,” said Patel. We were able to get over 400 people in attendance including a lot of administration, which was so amazing to see. The students really appreciated their support.
The UNITY Showcase, and the various other events that the Ethnic Student Council hosts, serve to promote the various ethnic groups that are devoted to the promotion and celebration of cultural diversity among the student body.