Fellowship in the HUT

by Melissa Nicholas '05

The lines extended out the door on Friday night, January 31, when APU had its third annual H.U.T. (Heritages United Together). H.U.T., which strives to bring people together to celebrate APU's unique cultural representatives and to learn about our distinctive backgrounds, featured a dinner and multicultural celebration. The evening was extensively diverse in its food, clothing, and performance, ranging from the Japanese kimono's to the Middle Eastern hummus.

After attendees helped themselves to a bulky buffet of foods from many different cultures, the talented UCSB Middle Eastern Ensemble performed songs from such areas as Lebanon and Iraq. Numerous other cultural entertainers took the stage to share their traditions, including salsa dancing taught by the A.M.I.G.O.S. Hispanic Club, and language lessons in Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and Armenian. "One of my dreams is to teach Armenian," said Vic Bezjian, executive director of APU’s International Center, who was able to live out part of that dream on Friday.

Another unique part of the night was the celebration of the Chinese New Year, which was emphasized through Thompson Chen and the Lion Dancers. The Lion Dancers artistically pranced through the crowd, decorated in bold costumes of red, orange, yellow and green. "In old times, when you spread the color green, you were spreading good fortune," Chen explained to the energetic crowd.

Besides the on-stage performances, there was also a number of displays that shared diverse customs. The Chinese Christian Fellowship wrote participators' names in Chinese, while the Japanese Fellowship taught different styles of origami.

According to sophomore Chris Velasquez, the night was a great success in sharing in each others' different cultures and traditions. "It was a lot of fun, and a great reminder that God has created us all uniquely."