Hundreds of Cultures, Three Days, One Campus


Maryam Shama

While many other students placed their stickers across the map in across different continents, sophomore Dylan Gates places his sticker in Florida to represent where his family is from.

Maryam Shama, Opinion Editor

Over the course of three days, several students stemming from various backgrounds were given the opportunity to share their cultures with their peers during Intercultural Week. From April 30 to May 2, ASB hosted lunchtime activities that encouraged the diverse student population to come together as one and become more culturally aware.

The first day, students “made their mark” as they stamped their handprints onto a large piece of paper to represent unity, yet identify how every handprint is unique.

The following day ASB hosted a “giant Jenga” event in which students created teams to represent one of four continents (North America, South America, Asia or Europe) and represented them during the game to allow for cultures to be seen on a bigger scale.

For the final event, students received paw print stickers to “pinpoint” where they are from on two maps in the student union, allowing students to see the amount of diversity throughout campus.

“The different lunchtime activities really bring together Portola as a community and really show that there are a lot of different cultures out there that we still have much to learn about,” sophomore Yash Menon said.

Last year’s Intercultural Week was planned differently. Each day of the week represented a country, and students participated in games from that culture. However, this year, intercultural liaison and sophomore Chris Choung said she thought it would be more appropriate for each event to bring together all cultures and planned it to allow for the activities to be more inclusive.

“Because there are so many different countries, I didn’t think it would be fair for one country to be represented more than the other,” Choung said. “I wanted to combine every culture and split it up within the three days, and surprisingly, I think it’s going pretty well for such a drastic change.”

Being more inclusive of all cultures rather than focusing on individual ones allowed for students to learn more about their peers’ cultures rather than a random one. In the following years, ASB plans on expanding this event and publicizing it more to the student body.

“This year we tried to have a theme of unifying rather than representing different cultures each day like last year. Therefore, I think the unifying theme was more influential,” ASB adviser Sarah Dean said. “[For next year] I see performances, speakers and maybe an assembly.”