File photo.

George Mason University is definitely not shy about diversity, as it boasts students from over 130 countries, bringing together a kaleidoscope of cultures. How these countries are showcased, however, is what makes the school unrivaled in displaying cultural tradition.

This year marks the 31st anniversary of International Week, and it is one of, if not the most, popular multicultural event held on the Fairfax campus. From April 9 to 16, students will come together in a variety of events to celebrate Mason’s diverse cultural population. Many students will also receive a chance to share their heritage to the entire student body through performances.

“Celebrate” is the theme for 2011, reminding students and faculty to praise the variety of cultures and ethnicities represented by Mason’s unique university population.

“I am so excited by the fact that I can walk from one class to the next and hear many different languages,” says sophomore global affairs major Sam Morgan. “It’s so diverse and you can see so many different cultures. I think it’s really cool.”

The kick-off event to I-Week is the annual opening ceremony where individual students, faculty and staff are focused on in a colorful parade.

“The students carry their flags and represent their country,” says Sara Morrisroe, assistant director of student organizations at the Office of Student Involvement.

During the week, a medley of interactive workshops will be held for activities such as African and Russian dance, belly dance, salsa, mixed martial arts, origami and language competition. Sporting events will make an appearance as well, with the soccer, basketball and cricket tournaments expected to draw a wide crowd.

Also incorporated will be discussions, cultural forums, trivia, poetry readings, plays, food, musical performances and information about study abroad opportunities.

One of the most talked about events is the annual dance competition, featuring dances from around the world performed by students, with the winners performing at the International Dinner Dance.

The wide spectrum of events is made possible by a joint effort from the Office of International Programs and Services and the Office of Student Involvement.

[My favorite part is] seeing all the students come together,” Morrisroe says. “The students work really hard on their performances, they start practicing in November. It’s a really colorful time on campus. People are together as one, celebrating cultures and diversity.”

For a complete list of I-Week events and activities, visit