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Diversity Celebration offers community an international extravaganza April 5

BOONE—Cloggers, Hmong dancers, poetry readings, international foods, music, costumes. Come experience all these and more at the 15th annual Diversity Celebration, 3–9 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, in Appalachian State University’s Plemmons Student Union. The event is free and the public is invited. A schedule and location of events is online at

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Programs on tap for the celebration include Native American drumming and dancing, a mariachi band, West African music, highland bagpipes and the Steely Pan Steel Band. Capoeiristas will perform capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. Attendees can watch loom and weaving demonstrations, get a henna tattoo, sample a variety of international foods prepared by the university’s Food Services. Former North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will give a poetry reading. A variety of vendors also will be on hand.

New this year, local business owner Amy Foote is hosting a tea party offering teas from around the world in the student union’s Multicultural Center. A cricket game, organized by Dinesh Davé, a professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, will take place on Sanford Mall.

An open mic night is slated for 7 p.m., also in the student union. People interested in performing should contact Diversity Celebration coordinator Khedema Robert at robertk@appstate.

The 10th Annual Appalachian’s People of the Planet Soccer Tournament, organized by Rahman Tashakkori, Lowe’s distinguished professor of computer science, will be held as part of the Celebration at Watauga High School on Saturday, April 9. Visit for registration and other information.

“Our community cares and is committed to action regarding diversity,” said Chancellor Sheri N. Everts. “This celebration is a beautiful example of multicultural unity. I am looking forward to enjoying the international cuisine prepared by Food Services and engaging in the many diverse performances and exhibits.”

“This is coming together as the largest celebration ever,” said Traci Royster, Diversity Celebration chair and interim director of Multicultural Student Development, said. “We expect thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors, and more performers and demonstrations than any other year. The Plemmons Student Union staff and my committee members are going all out. I can’t thank them enough.” A list of members of the planning committee can be found at

“The Diversity Celebration’s purpose is to provide participants with a safe environment for learning about others, while encouraging deeper exploration of differences,” Susan King, university program specialist for the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, wrote about the event. “In striving to foster an atmosphere that promotes inclusion and collaboration among all sectors of the university and greater community, the Diversity Celebration is a living, breathing entity with a sweet spirit that underscores the institution’s commitment to honor diversity in all its aspects.”