The Office of International Student Affairs put on one of their biggest events of the year, the International Food Festival, on Oct. 13 in the Sharwan Smith Student Center. The night was all about celebrating the many different cultures that students bring to Southern Utah University’s campus by showcasing foods from different countries.
“This is my favorite event because it gives ISA such an amazing voice,” Keri Romine, the ISA large events advisor and coordinator of the event, said. “Especially our students in ISA that are international, they get to come in and celebrate their culture and be reminded of home.”
Fifteen countries and regions were showcased this year, from Japan and Guatemala to the Netherlands and Russia. Students lined up to sample unique foods from each region, filling a plate and then finding a table under the decorative streamers and lights to figure out which treat they liked best.
Representatives of China gave each student an egg roll when they first walked in, France had eclairs, South America had yerba mate, a traditional tea-like drink. A table for South Africa, Cote D’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo gave out plantain chips. South Korea had unique candy for students to try, and Spain gave out cups of sangria.
From the start of the event, the line to get in stretched all the way to the Living Room. Romine was very happy with the turnout.
“We have literally grown every year,” Romine said. “And we want this event to be big because it’s the one event per year that we can really celebrate any country. We always highlight our top six or seven countries, and then we showcase countries with a smaller representation on campus.”
The International Food Fair is always a highly anticipated event and has been going on for around twelve years now. The educational aspect of the festival was emphasized this year with signs at each table displaying fun facts about the countries.
As students received slices of bread with Nutella from Italy, a sign informed them that placing bread upside down on the table is bad luck. Students could also learn that every panda in the world belongs to China and that Africa’s Sahara Desert is larger than the U.S.
“This is our chance to bring so many different cultures to campus,” Romine said. “Really that’s what we’re here for — just to celebrate that.”
Story and Photos by McKayla Olsen