Five nights to celebrate the diverse cultures at UP

By Chiara Profenna | March 16, 2023 12:00pm
Last year's Unity Ball was the first event of its kind, bringing together multiple cultures in one celebratory event.
Media Credit: Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

The last seven weeks of the semester are brimming with cultural celebrations. With so many on the horizon, the Beacon has outlined five of these annual events for you to add to your calendar.

From the annual lūʻau to first-of-their kind events, take advantage of these opportunities to celebrate the student body and enjoy the hard work club leaders have put into hosting these events for our community.

Hawaiʻi Club 45th Annual Lūʻau

The Hawaiʻi Club Annual Lūʻau is one of UP’s most famous cultural events on campus. For their 45th lūʻau, the theme is “'A'ohe hana nui ke alu 'ia me ke aloha,” which translates to, no task is too big when done by all with aloha.

“We hope to really convey the message that when we come together as a community and just have a lot of mutual respect for one another that we can accomplish anything,” Michelle Fukumitsu, one of the co-lūʻau chairs, said.

The event will take place on March 18. Doors open at 4 p.m., food is served at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6:30 p.m. 

At the event, there will be a photo booth and a country store with Hawaiian food and goods for sale. Attendees will be served a traditional Hawaiian meal including poi, kalua pig, chicken long rice, mac salad and more.

Following the meal, the show will include a variety of dances led by Hawaiʻi Club students, UP faculty, the Vietnamese Student Association, Portland State University’s Pacific Islanders Club and other culture clubs.

Admission is $14 for UP affiliates. Tickets can be purchased in advance at this link.

Graphic Courtesy of Hawai'i Club.

South Asian Student Union Cultural Night: A Night in India

South Asian Student Union (SASU) is bringing elements of their culture to campus with a first-ever annual culture night on March 30. 

The event will be from 7-9 p.m. in the Quiet Side of Commons. Since SASU encompasses a lot of countries, they’ve narrowed their event this year to focus on Indian culture, calling their first event A Night in India.

There will be a fashion show and short dance performance by SASU members to open the event, showcasing South Asian traditional dress they’ve brought from home. Following will be an assortment of interactive features that attendees can explore for the evening including an art gallery, a mehendi — commonly known as Henna — station and a catered Indian dinner.

“The goal is showing a vibrant culture: vibrant colors, music and dancing,” Ashleen Akkal, president of SASU, said. “We just want to put that out there and help people to see it for themselves.”

Admission is $7 and tickets can be purchased in-person only. Keep up with SASU’s instagram page for ticket sale times and locations.

Graphic Courtesy of SASU.

Filipino American Student Association Tahanan: Pilipino Cultural Night 

Filipino American Student Association’s (FASA) annual Pilipino Cultural Night (PCN) will take place on April 14 in the Quiet Side of Commons. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show will run from 6-9:30 p.m.

For their ninth PCN, the theme is “Tahanan,” which means house or home, honoring the community they’ve built within their club. 

“We really found a home in FASA and a lot of people are not from here or don’t come from a community where they can express or celebrate their Filipino culture,” Jaedina Bayking, PCN co-chair, said. “So when they come here, they have a home where they can really do that.”

Traditional and other popular Filipino dances will be part of the main performance. Other cultural clubs are also invited to be a part of the pre-show. Attendees will also be able to enjoy a traditional meal served with halo-halo, a Filipino shaved ice dessert.

For information on ticket sales, check FASA’s instagram page closer to the event date.

Graphic Courtesy of FASA, created by Jonah Doctolero and Maegan Rosario.

Vietnamese Student Association Culture Show: Hello Việt Nam 2023  

After an enormous success last year, the Vietnamese Student Association’s (VSA) seventh annual Culture Show, Hello Vietnam, is being held in the Chiles Center for the first time. 

The show will take place on April 15. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m. The theme this year is “Ý Nghĩa Của Tôi” which translates to my meaning. The message emphasizes the idea that each individual has their own interpretation of what it means to be Vietnamese. 

Attendees can expect a traditional Vietnamese meal and a student-led show that will center on Vietnamese culture. The show will follow two individuals, one born in Vietnam and one born in America, who explore their identities as Vietnamese. 

“The whole purpose of the script is to convey that whether you were born in Vietnam, or you were born in America, your identity, your blood is still Vietnamese,” Ann Tran, VSA cultural director, said.

Dances will also be part of the show, including a traditional Vietnamese Lion Dance, choreographed entirely by students. 

Admission is $10 for UP affiliates. Tickets can be purchased in advance at this link

Graphic Courtesy of VSA, created by Emily Tran.

Unity Ball — hosted by Latinx Student Union

After a successful first Unity Ball last year, Latinx Student Union (LSU) is preparing another cultural event unlike any other. 

The second annual Unity Ball will take place on April 22. Doors open at 5 p.m., food is served at 6 p.m. and the show is scheduled to begin around 7 p.m. 

Unity Ball is more than a cultural show highlighting LSU. It strives to showcase every culture on campus in an inclusive way. By inviting other clubs to participate in their show, Unity Ball is one of the most collaborative events on campus. Last year’s event included more than ten cultural clubs on campus. 

For this event, LSU is concentrating on Peruvian culture since their club represents a variety of countries. This means Peruvian food and dance will be spotlighted by LSU. However Peru won’t be the only country represented at the ball. Performances, dances and dishes from a variety of cultures will be included.

Since Unity Ball is such a collaborative event, LSU is also welcoming community members to volunteer for the day of the event to help bring it all together.

For information on ticket sales or volunteering, check LSU's instagram page closer to the event date.

2022 marked the first annual Unity Ball. Photo Courtesy of LSU.

Chiara Profenna is the DEI editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at