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Penn State Movin' On Fest Finds Balance in Diversity of Student Activities

Author Name: Diamonic Holmes  

Published On May 1st, 2019

Diamonic Holmes

Bryce Vine, Snakehips, GroupLove, and Asap Ferg were the headliners for Penn State's annual Movin' On Fest, which has been a tradition at the school for almost half a century now. The festival was created in order to provide a free student oriented festival experience that captures the diversity on a campus like Penn State, whose admissions department claims to have a demographic make up consisting of 34% non-white students and 66% white student body.
Of course groups are not monolithic as everyone has their own respective culture and interest, because that 34% of non-white students consists of people from many different places with many different backgrounds, much of the same is true in the 66% of white students. The point in bringing this point forward is to highlight the immense balancing out that must be achieved in order for such a festival to have any success, the event coordinators have to strike a perfect balance to properly accommodate all cultural perspectives and the interests that accompany those cultural identities.
The Penn State student organizations involved with planning this event has found a way to achieve this balancing act 43 consecutive years in the past, with this year marking the 44th year. With muddy fields, brutal wind gusts, and a temperature drop into the mid forties, the day ended up having less than ideal conditions. Yet, still the crowd was large and lively, consisting of a fairly balanced mix of brown and fair faces. That is an absolutely remarkable accomplishment, especially being taken in context from the woes other school's have experienced in being able to achieve a balance in cultural representation when planning student activities. I have attended  and been apart of planning many school activities at predominantly white institutions over the years, and none seemed to be able to achieve this balance. Even when school activities aim to be fully inclusive, they tend to be separate. How inclusive can separation possibly be?
This is what makes Penn State's effort so remarkable, it did not shy away from genre blending, it did not have different stages for the different acts, it put everyone into a melting pot of different cultural perspectives, and contrary to popular assumption everyone loved it. I urge other universities to take not of Penn State's success, aim to represent as many cultural perspectives as possible when planning student activities and watch student involvement increase as student apathy decreases. People generally care about things that make them feel engaged and involved, it is hard to be engaged and involved with a campus that you feel either does not recognize or does not care to recognize your cultural perspective.
Finally, let's remember that college is intended to be one of the final buffer periods of growth between childhood to adulthood. If students are leaving colleges and universities the same person that arrived on campus 4 or 5 years earlier, then that college or university has failed to fulfill a key purpose in developing that person. Development does not just occur in the classroom, people need to have diverse experiences in order to truly grow and become well rounded citizens ready to take on the challenges of an increasingly diverse world. No favors are being done on behalf of the person who is sheltered within a single world view, adapting to the world will be much harder for that person than it will for the person who has been given a multitude of varying cultural experiences.

Here is a look at Asap Ferg's set and the crowd: 

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