By Colter Hettich, Student Reporter
Students from every corner of the map will share a piece of their culture with the ACU community this Friday and Saturday night. One hundred twenty five students will perform acts from areas around the world, including China, Hong-Kong, Italy, Japan, Jamaica, Latin America, Madagascar, Philippines and the United States.
Although entertainment on the surface, the culture show is about much more than pleasing an audience.
Carlos Mecias, ’05 ACU graduate, got the Ethnos idea suddenly in 2002 while sprinting across campus, late to a culture show meeting. Ethnos means “people” or “nation” and this year’s students feel the theme reflects their commitment to each other and their homeland.
Laza Razafimanjato, pre-architecture major from Antananarivo, Madagascar and director of Ethnos 2007, said the leaders collectively decided on the IM theme while staying in touch over the summer- using instant messaging.
“We were trying to figure out how so many people from so many different cultures could be friends,” Razafimanjato said. “And instant messaging is one the ways we stay in contact.”
The Culture Show has made a significant impact in Melina Rangel’s life, who said, “I’ll be the first to admit that I judged a lot of cultures.”
Rangel, senior English major and writer of Ethnos 2007, began getting involved in ACU’s International Students’ Association while she was still a senior in high school.
“A place for international students to share their culture is vital,” Rangel said. “Each of us has a culture.” She feels that culture is not limited to African, American, or Asian. Culture can include Southern American or even Texan.
Laura Blake, International Student Services Coordinator, knows the audience enjoys the show,” but [the production] is most beneficial for those onstage and backstage.”
Blake, who has worked with Ethnos for four years, has seen first-hand how it brings people together.
“It really connects students and teaches them to work together. The production is student-driven and student-produced” she said. Ethnos 2007 has not been without bumps along the way.
“ISA didn’t get as much [money] as they requested from SA,” Blake said. Consequently they are relying heavily on ticket sales to help pay for the show.
Censorship kept one group from performing. Rangel said the faculty gave the group plenty of warning and time to make it appropriate, but those students chose to not participate.
“It is so important that we try not to cover it up or muffle it, especially in Abilene,” Rangel said.
Though they would prefer not to, most students gladly alter their act if it means getting to perform. Blake said that modest dress and clean lyrics concern the administration most.
“All of our cultures answer to a higher culture: Christian culture,” said Tom Craig, director of student productions.
Despite monetary drawbacks and mild censorship, Razafimanjato has not let anything discourage him.
“This is my first time to take on such a big role, but I have a great group of people helping me who are as excited as I am,” he said.
Ethnos 2007 has united these people from all over theworld for one purpose: to celebrate diversity together, in friendship and in Christ.