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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Pizzas, Pies, and Performance: The 2012 Multicultural Harvest Festival

Weekes and Berry-Burton at the festival




On November 16, in the Campus Center Ballroom A, the Black Student Center and UMass Boston’s Interfaith Chapel presented the annual Multicultural Harvest Festival. Students were invited to come eat pizza and pies and to see UMass Boston’s Gospel Choir perform. Attendees were also invited to share their own culture with the other students present in the form of spoken word, dance, music, or any other medium. The theme was “Gratitude and Thankfulness,” in keeping with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Isaac Weekes, the coordinator of the Black Student Center, said that “For me personally the multicultural harvest festival is a time when we think about things we give back. We are thanking for what we’ve gotten… It’s a very fun time.” Weekes sings, and he has performed at the Festival in previous years.

All students were welcome, and the event was free. Weekes explained that he and other organizers want “all the students, any students” to “come to relax in fellowship.” He added, “I know the Black Student Center accounts for a lot of the students here today, but this is an open event.”

The Interfaith Chapel’s organizer for the event was Adrienne Berry-Burton, a Catholic minister. The festival is older than Burton’s tenure at UMass Boston—she believes it has existed for about twenty years and began as an event aimed at international students who did not know anything about Thanksgiving. Originally, the festival was a large potluck dinner, but new dining rules at the university mean that nobody is allowed to cook food off-campus and serve it to students. “We can’t do that anymore, and I miss it! There were people who were famous for one dish or another and people who would wait all year to taste it again.” Berry-Burton said.

Food is important to the festival, and it’s what most people think of when they hear the word “harvest.” However, Burton believes “we also have a harvest that comes from us, and that is the legacy of our family, the legacy of our culture.” She invites all students to come to the festival to celebrate “the goodness of being alive.”