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Festival celebrates freedom on campus, in US

The best things in life are free.

Performers, student organizations and volunteers gathered at the Ohio Union for the second annual Freedom Festival. The event started at 10:30 a.m. with the “5 under 25” Senior Brunch.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to all of the freedoms that OSU students have,” said KC Bui, a first-year graduate student in educational policy and leadership. “Along the way, they can find out about different student organizations.”

The Multicultural Center put on this festival with the help of sponsors such as The Coca-Cola Co., The Student-Alumni Council, the Ohio State University Alumni Association Inc. and Undergraduate Student Government.

Bui said the Freedom Festival is one of the biggest events of the year for The Multicultural Center.

“Our budget was hitting about $12,000 with collaboration from everyone,” Bui said.

The Freedom Festival consisted of eight events taking place throughout the day in various locations in the Union. OSU’s Muslim Student Association hosted a “Teas of the World” exhibition, and Hillel hosted a “Freedom of Faith Dialogue.”

At 4:00 p.m. a festival featuring performances and information booths of multiple student organizations opened in the West Plaza of the Union.

Grant Gannon, a second-year in pre-communication, came to the festival to represent the OSU Alumni Association Inc. and The Student-Alumni Council.

“We need to have a freedom festival to recognize all of the different diversity we have on campus and all of the freedom we have in the U.S.,” Gannon said. “We’re trying to be more diverse in our groups.”

Ohio Stater’s Inc. hosted Underground Railroad tours and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted the FLAME concert, both of which began at 4:00 p.m.

Later in the festival, students lined up for free barbecue as the Buckeye BBQ Qlub joined the festival in the West Plaza of the Union.

Allison McLaughlin, a first-year in biology, volunteered at the Freedom Festival.

“We have all of these wonderful resources available to express ourselves,” McLaughlin said. “It’s really energetic.”

Aside from the free food and entertainment, students also had access to free henna tattoos, a photo booth and balloon animals.

Bui said students who visited the different booths at the festival in the West Plaza had the opportunity to receive stickers from some of the booths. Once a student received seven stickers, they were able to trade them in for a free T-shirt.

“I guess it’s kind of like the passport concept,” Bui said.

Bui said the back of each T-shirt has a place for students to fill in a freedom they appreciate.

“I think it’s cool because students will get to fill in the blank with their own word,” Bui said. “They can choose whatever identity or freedom that they believe strongly about.”

Caitlin Po, a third-year in biology, has attended the Freedom Festival for the last two years. She said she enjoys the opportunity to learn more about the different communities that exist within OSU.

“Freedom is the ability to just be who you are without limitations or obstructions,” Po said. “It’s so we can get to know each other and maybe find out (we’re) not so different.”

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