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HLS Staff Culture Fest 2022

The HLS Staff Culture Fest’s mission is to build a strong & inclusive community through celebration of both the distinct and universal expressions of our cultures, identities, and lived experiences. We want to celebrate culture in a multitude of ways.

Be sure to scroll through this page to see all of the amazing ways HLS Staff contributed to Culture Fest 2022!

Land Acknowledgement

The HLS Staff Culture Fest Committee recognizes that the land HLS is situated on is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Massachusett tribe.  We acknowledge that these peoples and many others were forcefully removed and that this University’s occupation is fundamentally tied to colonial development. We acknowledge that the consequences of this removal continue to affect these Indigenous communities. We offer our gratitude for the land and her people as we learn, teach, work, and commune.  We encourage you to learn more about the history of the land.


Culture Fest Cookbook

Check out our Culture Fest Cookbook!  See all of the amazing recipes that our staff submitted that reflect aspects of their culture and lived experienc

Download the Cookbook


Marie Von Kampen, Hospitality & Events Services

My art is interconnected through my Japanese-German ethnicity, hometown, identity, and experiences. Like my parents, I have always enjoyed doing things with my hands. Growing up in a rural Mississippi community, it was easier to keep me occupied by exploring nature or arts and crafts. It was not until after college that I started to pursue classes to study more about the mediums I was interested in learning. I found printmaking and carving through a friend, and my father later told me it was something my grandfather dabbled in, which was nice to learn since I had never met him. There are many printmaking and ceramic art forms in Japanese culture, so I have always been drawn to them. Losing access to print studio space because of the pandemic, I reconnected with some of my first loves: photography and alternate processes. My mother and uncle are both outstanding, self-taught photographers, so I think I learned from them in my early years. After the pandemic started, I decided to brush up on my digital photography skills and learn more about the alternate-printmaking side of photography. I still prefer film, but digital photography allows for more flexibility, especially when working on specific projects. I am excited about my first published photography book coming out in late May 2022.

Debbie Ginsberg, HLS Library

When I was younger, I started to pursue working in art, and even got an art degree, but in the end, I found a home in the library. I love drawing my iPad because I can take it anywhere and draw at any time. These two drawings are from the two big vacations my family took after my dad died (HLS LLM 1974). The first was to London, and the second to Paris. We were going to go to Amsterdam in 2020, but then COVID hit – maybe some other year?



Caryn Shelton-May, Faculty Support Services

Caryn and her wife wrote this song about Caryn’s family, particularly their parents and sisters.

“They were my first teammates and love ones and because of these relationships, my love expanded to others in the world. The distance between us brought on by the pandemic inspired this musical expression.”

Culture Fest Playlist

Listen to our Culture Fest Playlist made up of songs submitted by all of you!

Poetry & Prose

Storytelling Workshop

In our Storytelling Workshop 3 HLS Colleagues presented their stories and poems from their culture. Desne Crossley shared two of her own short stories. Sama ElBannan shared a poem about the war in Ukraine.  John Silano shared four of his own poems.

Culture Fest Committee

Chardina ChoateDevelopment

Sama ElBannan (Founder), Harvard Defenders

Molly FlashFaculty Support Services

Tracy LefferdinkDevelopment

Matilda MatovuOffice of Community Engagement, Equity & Belonging

Dianne Ribeirinha-BragaFacilities

Xia RondeauBerkman Klein Center

Supported by Gloria Alonzo, Melani Baez, and Edgar Filho from Human Resources

If you have any questions about the HLS Staff Culture Fest, please reach out to Sama ElBannan (

Previous Culture Fests

View 2021’s Culture Fest Submissions Here