Ask any second year, and they will tell you about an international variety show. Previously known as the Wharton International Cultural Show, WICS was launched in 2001 as a two-hour culture show that showcased the cultural diversity in the Wharton community. Last year, the show had over 20 cultural acts featuring over 200 performers. There were bagpipes, swords, Asian belly dancers, brown belly dancers, and Middle Eastern (non-belly) dancers, something that looked suspiciously like Yoga, a J-Pop performance (partly) in drag, and some seriously awesome talent on display!
What’s changed then? For a start, our name. We are now the Wharton Inter Cultural Society.
So, nothing much then, you say. That is where you would be wrong.
By rebranding and relaunching WICS as the Wharton Inter Cultural Society, we are taking the spotlight away from the “show” and putting it back on “culture.” Away from “international” and back on “inter-cultural.” The latter is a subtle difference, but all the more crucial for it. The WICS mission this year is to be a mirror to all cultures—that of both the international as well as the domestic students. After all, when and where else will an Indian girl get a chance to break out into a Texan line dance in front of 300 people (ahem, any act-coordinators interested)?!
Over the years, WICS had boxed and projected itself as a club that catered only to international students, and showcased their diversity—a great disservice to the entire domestic student body, which was restricted to part-spectator, part-consumer of whatever the show chose to serve up. Given Wharton’s highly diverse and global student population, we spend our two years at Wharton chasing immersive experiences that allow us to get perspective on the things that define the people around us. Culture clubs and treks offer their members a chance to experience these more closely, but there is no common platform that allows these opportunities to be aggregated and presented to non-members.
WICS’s mission is to explore new ways for the entire Wharton community to engage their cultural curiosity and participate in understanding and sharing this rich diversity. This year, we want to bring the student body back as equal participants in any aspect of the cultural experience that they care to experiment with. Culture and traditions manifest themselves in so many tangible and intangible ways—food, music, dance, cinema—and the new WICS hopes to be Wharton’s one-stop conduit for all aspects of cultural exploration.
The first WICS marquee event, Wharton Masterchef (November 9, 5pm-9pm) exemplifies our mandate to provide more comprehensive platforms for cultural exchange in the Wharton community and to elicit participation from a wider cross-section of the student body. With over 65 students setting up food stalls to represent over 15 different cuisines, Wharton Masterchef is poised to be Wharton’s biggest all-you-can-eat culinary extravaganza. Shameless plug now dispensed with (since we are subtle and classy like that)!
This is just the start, though. Our event roster has been expanded to include three events: the international food festival, Wharton Masterchef (Fall semester), an international film festival (Spring semester) and the international culture show, Wharton’s Got Talent (Spring semester).
So what’s changed with WICS, you ask? Everything. And it’s all good!