A key component to a successful college experience is being open-minded and gaining knowledge about to the various beliefs, cultures and religions of others. Here at UCR, there is a tremendous pride in the diversity of our campus. What better way to celebrate that diversity than with music, poetry and free food from the Barn? On a cold, rainy Thursday night on the 8th of November, students hung out at The Well’s 3rd Annual Creative Coexist. The Coexist events are hosted to provide an environment of togetherness and creativity for people of different beliefs.
As opening band Groove Session began to play, the line at The Barn compiled with students ready to use the free dining coupons with $4 credit distributed at the door. Setting the tone for the evening, the trio from Ontario graced the stage with melodic tunes and skillful instrumentation with songs like “Change of Pace” and “California Hurricane.” The music ranged from soulful, dramatic tunes to light and smooth jam sessions that the audience clearly appreciated. Groove Session started the night off right by setting a laid-back and enjoyable atmosphere. The band played four selections as food pumped out from the kitchen and the excitement of the upcoming performances filled the air.The band played four selections as food pumped out from the kitchen and the excitement of the upcoming performances filled the air.
After starting the night off right with an intense jam session, students piled in and the presentations began. Organizations on campus spoke about their club or religion and presented open invitations to join in their fellowship. Presentations included spokesmen from the new Christian Co-Opt organization and the Coptic Club, an Egyptian Christian group on campus. Students also heard from the Christian fraternity Alpha Gama Omega, who are currently in the process of becoming affiliated with UCR. Club presentations were used to incorporate cultural understanding as a means of religious coexistence. Learning about different belief systems and having access to more information added a great facet to the event’s lineup.
There was an steady, easy vibe of camaraderie that permeated throughout the night. A number of poets took the stage and the event doubled as an open mic night for whoever felt moved and compelled to showcase their talent. Performers were inclined to encourage each other from the audience, which gave the Barn a fun and light-hearted feel. Many students who performed were associated with on campus organizations like the Catholic Student Fellowship and Active Minds. Poetry and spoken word became a popular choice of expression with topics ranging from relationships and womanhood to togetherness and faith. As the night went on, the audience grew.
UCR’s Gospel Revelation Choir performed three uplifting selections and the Not So Sharp a cappella group also made their mark singing a cappella versions of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and “Animal” by Neon Trees. The modern mix of entertainment from our own students created a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. Students were pleasantly surprised by the number of first-time performers who hopped on stage with confidence, despite the pressure of such a packed house.
Those in attendance were able to appreciate the religions and cultures that were represented by enjoying the creative avenues used to express those different beliefs. Freshly written poems, uplifting music and good company can only equal a successful night. Students were given the opportunity to better understand each other in unique ways. Hosting events like the Creative Coexist is a great way to hone in on the diversity of UC Riverside’s campus. As the night ended, students left The Barn with good vibes and a readiness for next year’s event. With the participation of so many clubs and organizations, the campus community can continue to prove that cultural understanding and togetherness is both valued and appreciated.