by Sarah Ruiz
Tonight in the Student Union and Recreation (SURC) Pit, the annual Central Washington University Sakura Matsuri Festival will begin at 5 p.m. The event is also known as the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival and is hosted by the Center for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) and Asian-Pacific Island American House LLC.
Traditional Japanese drumming and dancing will be taking place in the SURC Pit. Snacks will be available, lanterns will get decorated and Asia University America Program (AUAP) students will present projects for their program.
“It gives our students a chance to interact with [AUAP] students,” Center for Diversity center worker Jamese Johnson said. “There’s not much interaction between different groups here. This gives students a chance to interact with Japanese students while they’re here.”
Events hosted by the Center for Diversity aim to give students on campus a look into different cultures and lives. The Sakura Matsuri festival aims to educate students on a part of Japanese culture. The festival is a celebration of the blossoming of the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees, and is often seen as a celebration of the coming of spring.
Celebrations happen around the world, with large festivals within the United States in cities like Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA.
“It’s about culture,” Johnson said. “It’s very beneficial for staff and students to get to experience cultures that aren’t your own.”
This will be Johnson’s first year planning the festival, and she is excited to see how students receive it.
“People really do enjoy it. The drummers are really good and they give some history. You can hear it throughout the whole SURC,” Johnson said.
Events like this offer a chance for Central students to gain knowledge of the cultures of those who attend the university.
“We work to create an inclusive environment, an environment where everyone feels like they should be here,” Diversity Officer Mal Stewman said. “How we do that is we talk about it, talk about topics that challenge our way of thinking.”