This article was published in the EMU WeatherVane, a student newspaper.
The International Food Festival was part of the International Education Week and occurred for the student body and community to experience foods and cultures from different parts of the world.
It was a way for people to get to know each other. Multicultural Services and International Student Organization (ISO) planned the whole event. Susannah Lepley, ISO advisor along with Junior Kaltuma Hassan, Senior Sun Ju Lee, and the members of ISO, helped plan for this event during the summer. And with the help of undergrad students, CJP, faculty, and other community members the event was made possible.
“The ISO members and Multicultural and International Student Services’ work study students planned the dinner venue at Thomas Plaza. We had over 30 tables arranged in a circular manner, and all the cooks put their foods on their tables and decorated them,” co-president Lee said.
“Students and community members were given five tickets, and were charged an extra dollar if they wanted to buy more tickets. The tickets were used to vote for whichever meal that they like the most.
“Wendy Yu won the competition. There were also a lot of games, which were organized by Priyanka, Nana and Mary, and just the overall atmosphere was great.” This event was a way to celebrate different nationalities and educate about other cultures, but it also created connections throughout the community and students.
“There were almost 300 people that attended the event. We really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was relaxed, and people really engaged with each other well,” Hassan said.
A big part of the dinner was the celebration of different cultures connecting, and the diversity. “We like to engage people who feel excluded from the community at EMU, and through peace building, we know that community building is key and that engaging all varieties of people is important,” Lee said.
It was an informal setting for people to get to know each other through activities. “The games and dancing wer every exciting, people had good laughs, and the little children got involved,” Hassan said. The international dinner is continuing to grow each year.
“This year was the second time the event occured, and proved to be better attended. I think the student body, community members, and faculty have been very supportive. We feel blessed,” Lee said.
Sarina Hartman, Circulation Manager