campus news and events

Colby-Sawyer College and Community Come Together to Celebrate the World's Diversity at the 15th Annual International Festival

Community members from New London and the surrounding region packed Wheeler Hall in the Ware Student Center at Colby-Sawyer on Saturday, March 7, as more than 100 students representing more than three dozen countries participated in the 15th Annual International Festival.

Sponsored by the Cross Cultural Club (CCC), the festival invites the college's international students to share their home countries' traditional clothing and culture through table displays and food samples. Hundreds of students, staff, faculty and community members of all ages came to sample the wide variety of food and enjoy conversations with the students.

The evening's program included a fashion show that showed off the students' beautiful traditional attire. Well-represented nations such as Vietnam, Ethiopia and China highlighted the diversity of clothing within their individual countries.

A talent show with 13 acts showcased everything from fan dancing to spoken word poetry and a romantic pas de deux. The first prize of $200 went to Saluna Baiju and Bibek Thappa of Nepal for their lively dance; the second prize of $150 went to John Rojas for his hip hop dance, and the third prize of $100 went to sisters Ashma and Anishma Shrestha for their traditional Nepali dance.

The 142 international students at Colby-Sawyer represent 10 percent of the student body and come from every continent but Antarctica. “The festival has always been popular among the college and the greater New London community, especially with the international students' Friendship Families,” said CCC treasurer and festival coordinator Dikshant Rajbhandari '18, a business administration major. “It's not only about food and attire; it's about conversations the festival evokes among students about diverse origins and cultures.”

The Friendship Family Program at Colby-Sawyer matches individual international students with a family that volunteers to welcome him/her to the community and helps with the numerous aspects of adjusting to life in a new country.

Making the International Festival even more special is that it was the first branded sustainable event on campus. Initiated by the Office of Campus Sustainability last semester, the Sustainable Events Initiative has been promoting environmentally friendly campus events through collaborations with Sodexo Dining Services, the Student Activities Office, and the President's Office. Aligned with one of the strategic themes of the college, Living Sustainably, the goal of this initiative is to reduce the environmental impact of collegiate events by making conscious decisions on all aspects from product selection to waste management.

The hard work of many people went into making this an event to be remembered. The students are already planning next year's festival, so be on the lookout next spring and be sure to join us!

For more information on the festival and the CCC, contact Adviser Cindy Benson at For more information on the Sustainable Events Initiative at Colby-Sawyer, contact Shrestha at

- Cindy Benson, with contributions from Anurup Upadhyay '15

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000