International Peace Village event thrives in new location


Kaitlyn Little

The International Peace Village on Nov. 15 attracted many new attendees as the organizers taught students about different countries and cultures.

by Kaitlyn Little, Staff Writer

With sounds of music from a classical Indian dance to a Bamboo Stick Dance and flags strung across the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, students found themselves embraced with various cultures at the 62nd annual International Peace Village on Nov. 15.

According to the event’s fliers, the goal was “promoting global awareness, cross-cultural communication and international goodwill at San Diego State.”

The event featured various performances on stage from different cultures. Students and community members had booths demonstrating their country and gave informative presentations, including discussions on Thailand, Qatar, Mexico, Singapore and more.

However, the event’s location was changed from last year in Montezuma Hall to the student union. This prompted even more attendance from students because they passed through on their way to classes or to get food.

Kinesthesiology pre-physical therapy senior Vineeta Parupudi helped to host the event alongside comparative international studies senior Marjon Saulon. Parupudi said she noticed a significant difference from the event last year and changing the location of the event is helping to push for a more inclusive community around the school.

“Last year it was in Montezuma Hall, so people didn’t know what was happening,” Parupudi said. “Last year, there were a lot less people and now it’s in the center of the college and I think it gives us the validation and importance from the school as well, saying ‘hi, we’re pushing this agenda. We’re here to talk about this, we’re here to open this floor up for conversation.’”

International Programs Coordinator Jessica Baham said this was her second time attending the event. She said the location change allowed for students who normally wouldn’t have attended to view programs and gain interest.

“It’s great because we get a lot of foot traffic here so students who are grabbing lunch are able to just once (they see) all these posters and what this is all about because it’s a great event,” Baham said. “I think I’ve gotten students come by who otherwise wouldn’t even have known it existed when it was previously in the other location.”

Passport Office Coordinator Ana Villalobos has attended the International Peace Village for three years and said she noticed a difference in the number of people attending and also attributes this due to the event being held in the student union.

Aside from location change, Saulon said the event was intended to highlight diversity but also increase awareness for students of color and their cultures.

“We wanted to make sure that the people who do not necessarily come from America, help to make America greater and better with all our diversity,” Saulon said.

Parupudi said, as a non-American woman of color, this event was an open opportunity to speak about her culture, something that was further facilitated by the event’s new location.

“I felt like those doors were kind of closed to me sometimes that people didn’t want to acknowledge and didn’t want to speak about it,” Parupudi said. “But, I think even just changing the location has been brilliant and it’s been an opportunity and people are walking by, people want to know what it is.”

Political science junior Haley Welch was an attendee to the event said she enjoyed her time at the event and it defied her expectations because she was able to learn about so many cultures.

“It’s been awesome, I wish I would’ve come the past couple of years,” Welch said. “I got a lot of yummy food and met a lot of cool people and actually learned a lot more than I thought I would.”