Unity Dates Set

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

March 21, 1997

Unity Festival set for April 23

This year's celebration of community and campus diversity at UW-River Falls will have new dimensions.

In past years, "Unity in the Community" has provided primarily entertainment; this year organizers have added elements of participation, education and community service.

More than 30 events, presentations and performances will take place on April 23. The festivities will be held in either the Hagestad Student Center or outside on the mall. They are free and cater to all age groups.

"We want this to be an educational collaboration that promotes a future of understanding, appreciation and the ability to work together in the world," says Linda Alvarez, multicultural student services coordinator.

Organizers of the annual daylong event on have planned several workshops, presentations and activities that connect to the celebration's theme "Our Campus, Ourselves, Our World: Together Making a Difference through Heritage, Service and Vision."

One of the highlights this year will be a joint project with the community and Habitat for Humanity.

Organizations on campus are raising money to buy nails and boards to build a house, and volunteers are invited to help construct the basic framework.

"When people work together they can make a difference," says Alvarez, who believes the events relate to everyday life. "The challenge for us in the 21st century is to figure out how we bring all of our unique challenges and gifts to the table and collaborate for a better world."

Another popular event for all ages is the International Bazaar held in Karges Gym from 11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.. For an admission charge of $1, participants may sample foods from different countries prepared by the International Student Organization.

Throughout the day, workshops and performances will explore diversity in a variety of issues: culture, religion, gender, age, history, geography, literature, disabilities, and gay and lesbian issues.

"We want people to have a good time but also to take with them ideas, tools, and information," says Alvarez.

To highlight community service achievements, over 20 student organizations will display volunteering and fundraising projects.

Some of the major events and their times are:

9 a.m.: Opening Ceremony with the Women's Choir.

10 a.m. Dance Theatre: Appalachian clogging and multicultural dancing.

10 a.m. and 4 p.m.: "Historical Origins of River Falls," by Chris Foster.

Noon: Afro-Carribbean dance: El Arco Iris, the "Rainbow," will lead dance instruction.

1 p.m.: "Listening to Our Elders' Wisdom." A panel of Lutheran Home residents will share their experiences.

2 p.m. "Diversity," by Chris Loving, founder of "Loving Leadership." He will talk about appreciating diversity and rekindling the human spirit.

4 p.m. "Race Issues and Understanding," by Kathy Humphrey, director of residence life.

6 p.m. Picnic and Jazz on the Mall. Director David Milne will lead the UW-RF Jazz Band.

7 p.m. Chinese American Dance Theatre.

8 p.m. "Shalita," 12-piece reggae dance band.

For more information or a complete schedule of events, call Alvarez at 715/425-3842.

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