The world comes to the U for International Night

Each year, U students and other members of the community come together for one night of music, dance, culture and food.

International Night takes place Friday beginning at 7 p.m. in the Union Ballroom. Produced by the International Student Council, the show marks the culmination of six months of preparation.

“It is the biggest international event at the University of Utah. An average of 2,000 people are expected to attend the event,” said Tolga Ozer, president of the ISC. “And it’s totally free.”

Twelve bands from different countries are slated to perform tonight and, according to Jahanara Saleh, vice president of the ISC, there were careful selection criteria in choosing the performers.

“We tried to cover as many continents, countries and cultures as possible on one stage. We wanted to represent different continents and cultures as much as we could. We do have more than 12 bands from different countries,” Saleh said.

Saleh stresses that International Night is about embracing all cultures and diversities. She wants people to know that the event focuses on inclusivity within diversity.

“International Night targets everyone. It’s not directed at a particular target audience. We want to make people aware of the international population at the U so they can come and experience our cultures,” Saleh said. Beyond the theme of inclusiveness, Ozer says International Night is a forum for international students to make their presence known on campus. He says that the motivation behind the event is also “telling the rest of campus society that we are international students and we have more than 2,000 members in the international society. That is almost 10 percent of the student population.”

Maulik Shah, fund-raising coordinator for ISC, said the process of planning International Night began at the end of October.

“We have been working on the fund raising since the end of October because we recognized it would take a long time to raise enough money for such a huge event,” said Shah.

Gauging from the expenses of last year’s International Night production, Shah estimates that this year’s event will cost the ISC at least $7,000. The costs, Shah says, include paying some of the performers, stage equipment and set and food. The 25 people who have been working on piecing the event together work pro bono.

Most of the money raised by the ISC for the event has come through the Associated Students of the University of Utah. Specifically, ISC was granted about $4,500 from the student government.

“ASUU has been really great and generous in helping us out. When we came to them to ask for the money, they were very excited about the event,” Shah said.

According to event organizers, the rest of the money has been secured through private donations from individuals as well as various other student organizations.

The event will be headlined by Latin rock group Infusion, who will play high-energy music during the event’s final hour.

The Utah Pipe Band, Japanese Drummers and belly dancers are just a few of the other groups scheduled to perform. Various prizes, from T-shirts to gift certificates at local eateries, will be distributed to event attendees.

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