Community Through Movement
It’s a few weeks before WorldVIU Days, and organizers are looking for volunteers!
WorldVIU Days is a week of activities and events that showcase different cultures. This year, they’ll take place from November 6–10, and the theme is “Community Through Movement.”
Sara Kishawi is a Sociology student and the Global Engagement Student Lead. She and Psychology student Yohan Jacob are part of the coordination team for WorldVIU’s lunch stages.
Kishawi explained that the theme is open for interpretation.
“There might be focus on movement as migration, but also movement as in dance … We’re also adding a social movement aspect, something that causes change like protests.”
Jacob added, “It could also be any type of art form that creates movement: music, speech.”
Besides volunteers for setup and takedown, Kishawi and Jacob are looking for participants for the lunch stages and the Fashion Show in the Upper Cafeteria. The time slots are 11:30 am to 1 pm. The Fashion Show is on November 8, while the stages are November 6, 7, and 9.
For the Fashion Show, students are asked to wear traditional clothing. However, since not all students may have brought them from home, there is some flexibility.
“The clothes have to have some aspect of tradition or culture that will showcase the area that you’re from … Something that has meaning, by the end of the day. If you have just the shirt [and] you want to wear that with jeans, that totally works. But we would prefer that everyone showcases as much as they can, just to give people an idea,” said Kishawi.
As for the stages, students can either sing (preferably something from their culture) or dance (not necessarily traditional, though group performances are encouraged). Each act will be given 5-10 minutes.
There are other events that people can participate in.
Breaking Bread will showcase ethnic breads and feature performances from break dancers. Students can buy or bring their own breads. The event will be at 2:30 pm on November 8 in the Malaspina Theatre lobby.
And running throughout the week will be a Poetree, featuring poems from different parts of the world. The prompt is “Movement through Poetry.” These poems can be in English or in the students’ first language with an English translation. They will be printed out, laminated, and displayed on a tree outside the Upper Cafeteria. The deadline to submit poems is November 1 at midnight, and there will be an official unveiling or “planting” on November 6 at 10:30 am.
Kishawi is hoping for more participation from domestic students, since past WorldVIU Days have attracted mostly international students. She also hopes to see people who have both a domestic student status and an international background, like herself.
“The whole point is to blend international and domestic students, for them to build connections with each other, so there is not that obvious line [between them],” she said. “If we have that blend, then you have more of an engaged community. You create a community through movement.”
Finally, she wants more Indigenous representation, especially in the lunch stages. “It seems like every time we have something global, it tends to be [from] everywhere in the world, but there’s not as much focus on the culture inside of Canada, which is Indigenous culture.”
Jacob would like domestic students to host Canada-focused activities and workshops.
“It’s a good way for international students to learn about Canada. WorldVIU Days is also about learning about Canada itself,” he explained.
Both students encourage participants to attend with an open mind and a desire to learn.
“People are often surprised when other parts of the world exist, and I think that also can create a barrier, where different cultures are seen as ‘weird.’ [WorldVIU Days is] an opportunity to learn that there’s other parts of the world that exist and that they have these traditions and it’s really cool to know about them,” Kishawi said.
As much as there’s an educational component, Kishawi and Jacob remind students to enjoy themselves.
“[WorldVIU Days is] not only an educational experience. That’s not even the largest part. It’s a fun experience to meet new people and build some connections,” Kishawi said.
“We just want to make a fun week of activities and learning about each other,” Jacob added.
If you’re interested in getting involved or sending a poem, email Kishawi at email@example.com or DM her at @sara_kishawi on Instagram. For updates and further information on WorldVIU Days, follow VIU Cultural Connections at viu_culturalconnections. You can see the full schedule of events on WorldVIU International’s webpage.
Image Via: VIU Cultural Connections
Sophia is in her third year at The Navigator and fifth (final!) year of the Creative Writing and Journalism program. Outside of The Nav, she volunteers as a Peer Helper and is doing another year of Portal Magazine. This summer, a solo trip to Japan ignited Sophia’s wanderlust. She hopes to return soon, next time with a stop in Korea.