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Sierra College celebrates the world at People & Culture Days

By: Anne Stokes, Placer Herald correspondent
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Sierra College students were treated to an international fete on campus this week. The 10th annual People & Culture Days celebration exposed students to a myriad of different cultures with the hope of inspiring students to broaden their horizons.

The free community event featured campus groups, exhibits and local vendors that showcased societies from all over the world. 

Geography professor Sean Booth organizes the event to bring student groups on campus together, as well as to bring a practical approach to learning.

"Today is really a chance to celebrate the diversity that we have on campus," he said. "Often [students] are pigeon-holed into their classrooms and their different areas here. Today is a day for us to come out and meet together in one giant forum."

"It's not only an appreciation of diversity, it's an appreciation of cultures around the world," Booth explained. "As a teacher here, I think the best thing about this festival is really to teach in a different way. Normally we lecture the students or they're in labs, but this is really hands-on, talking to their own peers to learn about each other. It really adds a spice of life to the diversity here.”

Don Coan with the Friends of San Juan de Oriente (one of Sacramento's sister cities in Nicaragua) was on hand to share his experiences abroad with students.

"I hope and believe that [students] will broaden their knowledge about various cultures because for the most part the students here seem to lack information about Central America in general, and any of the history in that area," he said.  \"They need to learn more about the world they live in."

Communications student Nadine White appreciated the opportunity to discover more about global issues and cultures.

"I'm trying to learn more about the different cultures around the world, more so than you'd learn on the television or from the media. And there are a lot of people here today that are from the actual countries they're representing, so I'm hoping to talk with them and learn about where they're from."

Business student Marwa Cherraf helped man the International Life Club's booth (she is the Sierra College club's president), which sold bracelets to benefit the Agape International Mission, which helps fight and raise awareness of human trafficking. Cherraf, who originally hails from Morocco, was there to help educate her fellow students about such issues as well as to hopefully recruit new members.

"We're trying to improve our English, our social abilities and have fun. It's all about having fun and helping each other," she said, advising others to "be open to other cultures and get ready to meet people from all over the world. This is America, this is diversity!"