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Students Celebrate ROOTS Festival Diversity Day
Friday, June 2, 2006 - 12:00am

Concerns about diversity awareness on campus and a desire to celebrate multicultural roots bring together student organizations for the first ever ROOTS Festival. The ROOTS Festival is a day long celebration of diversity on the Portland State Campus that will commemorate people�s origins, cultures, and commonalities, as well as respected differences. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy their own roots and take delight in the cultures and customs of their fellow students and community members.

The event, happening on June 2 at the Portland State campus, takes place in the Multicultural Center and in the park blocks. Students and the greater Portland community are encouraged to attend the all-day event. The day will begin in the Multicultural Center at 10am with a panel discussion on the importance of diversity in higher education that includes panelists: Turiya Autry, Jack Straton, Peggy Ross and Jaye Sablan. A presentation by the Illumination Project, an interactive theater troupe, will happen at 11am. Later in the day starting at 1pm artists, vendors and music will fill the park blocks. Musical guests include the groups Keegan Smith, Solidity, Luminous Fog, and March Fourth.

�We put on this event so students would have a chance to explore their heritage and roots on a day with their fellow students,� said Rudy Soto, Coordinator of the United Indian Students in Higher Education (UISHE), �I think this is the type of event that can foster discussions about diversity and its role in our community.�

For years Portland State University multicultural students have talked about the possibility of putting together a joint event that would include a variety of multicultural student groups. In early November 2005 a group of multicultural student group leaders were summoned together through the sway of SALP (Student Activities and Leadership Programs) and ASPSU (Associated Students of Portland State University) Student Government. During the course of the meetings a number of students expressed the desire for the various groups involved to work together on developing an enjoyable event for all students.

Portland State has the largest population of students than any other university in Oregon with 25,000 students and a very diverse population. "We need to reflect the diversity that is so abundant on this campus and in our community," said Multicultural Affairs Director Mayela Herrera, "It is an important issue for the development of our campus."

Multiple student groups worked on the ROOTS Festival including:

  • the United Indian Students in Higher Education
  • UISHE, Pacific Islanders Club (PIC)
  • Filipino Student Association KAIBIGAN
  • Black Cultural Affairs Board (BCAB)
  • Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU)
  • Association of African Students (AAS)
  • American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES)
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MECHA)
  • Queer Resource Center (QRC)
  • Indian Student Association (ISA)

For more information, contact Jessica Lyness, Director of Communications, (503) 913-3882,

View the poster here.