Celebrating cultural diversity at RUSU's Multicultural Festival

Celebrating cultural diversity at RUSU's Multicultural Festival

Cultural diversity was on display this week at RUSU's Multicultural Festival. Read about the highlights here!

RMIT embraced Cultural Diversity Week, celebrating RUSU’s Multicultural Festival through a series of events at our Melbourne campuses.

With over 125 countries represented among RMIT’s enrolled student body, and with international students filtering back onto campus for the first time in two years, there was cause for celebration.

Students enjoyed a selection of international food, various stalls and performances while some took to the stage to impress the audience with impromptu dancing.

Karen Mehta, a Master of Analytics student and University council member of Indian heritage said these events help the international RMIT community feel supported on campus.

“It started for me as a way to feel included at RMIT,” he said.

“There are many diverse cultures here at RMIT and it helps students feel welcome on campus.”

“It’s important that they know that they have a community that shares this feeling and sense of culture.”

Karen had no hesitation in hitting the dancefloor, saying it was the highlight of his day.

“The highlight of my day would have to be the dancing,” he said

“One of the dance moves was very impromptu by me and the guys.”

“It started as an all-female dance, but everyone knew the routine and joined in!”

Male students dancing at RUSU's multicultural festival Students embracing the music at RUSU's Multicultural Festival

Alonso Navarro, RMIT’s Senior coordinator, international student participation, knows firsthand the importance of celebrating multiculturalism.

Alonso moved to Australia in 2015 from Tenancingo, a small town outside Mexico City and said RMIT has made him feel welcome ever since first starting here in 2019.

“I think it’s very important to celebrate cultural diversity,” he said.

“Being able to identify differences – and similarities - with people around you can help you find common ground with people that you might not have otherwise.”

“I think RMIT embraces and celebrates diversity as a workplace. A large number of my colleagues were from culturally diverse backgrounds.”

RUSU representative and RMIT student Angelin Tom also emphasized the importance on making sure international students feel welcomed.  

“We have a lot of international students here and I know a lot of them do feel a bit homesick,” she said.

“These events help international students to know that there is a community here for them.”

“It’s been really nice to see all the students on campus and being able to have a proper uni life by attending events like this.”

Angelin also took advantage of all the food on offer during the festival.

“There's so much good food!” she said.

“We’ve had baklava, Turkish delight, bao and I even tried Vietnamese iced coffee for the first time today.”

Collection of photos from RUSU's Multicultural Festival

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

This week also saw RMIT acknowledge the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2022 for a discussion on racism and anti-racism, where we are now as a university and broader community, and where we would like to be in the future.

This event was brought together by a group of collaborative stakeholders including the Cultural Inclusion Working Group, the Office of Indigenous Education, Research and Engagement, the Indigenous Staff Network, College and Operational Ngulus, Students Group and the People Team.

Alae Taule'alo, Senior Chaplain, said that conversations about racism have acquired an additional urgency because of cultural and historical moments like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

"In Australia, we’ve seen not only local mobilisation in support of Black Lives Matter, as it highlighted systemic oppression of First Nations people in Australia, but also a rise in racist attacks against Chinese Australians," he said.

"In 2022, the theme for this day of significance was ‘Voices for Action Against Racism’ and was an encouragement for people everywhere to speak out against racism to ensure a safe environment for those who speak up. "


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.