Throughout the early 1980s, a growing number of international students enrolled at East Texas State University. Unprecedented numbers of students arrived at the campus from China, Iran, Nigeria, Taiwan, Thailand, India, and Micronesia. This increase in international students is most evident by viewing the new student organizations formed during this period, such as the Micronesian Student Organization and the Chinese Student Association.
In 1994, the university hosted its first Multicultural Festival, an event which provided international students an opportunity to share their unique cultures and histories. Continuing into the present, the Multicultural Festival is one of the highlights of the year. The event features a parade of international flags, cultural displays, arts and crafts from all over the globe, samplings of traditional foods, and a talent show.