ISA’s Food and Festivals event shows off foreign cultures

Southern Utah University’s International Student Ambassadors club, showcased fall and winter festivals from countries around the world at their annual Food and Festivals event in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Decorated with lights and colorful streamers, the space housed booths, each staffed by ISA members, that educated about various countries’ traditions. Food and treats were available at each booth, and students could enjoy activities pertaining to each festival.

One booth was for Panama’s Bocas del Toro Sea Fair, a holiday that celebrates local handicrafts and also hosts rowing, fishing and boating competitions. 

The booth for Sweden celebrated the country’s Crayfish Party, and students representing Africa’s Eastern Ivory Coast braided colorful fibers into participants’ hair.

“This year, we really tried to bring in more countries that don’t typically get represented at these kinds of events,” said Hallie Woodruff, ISA’s vice president. “We have students from all different countries represented here at SUU, so we wanted them to feel like they’re seen here on campus and that they’re safe and that this is a place where they can talk about their cultures and see them celebrated.”

She added that another important aspect of this event was to bring more awareness of all these cultures and their traditions for SUU’s domestic students.

“One of the biggest things that we try to do overall, and especially at these events, is to promote diversity,” said Peter Martin, one of ISA’s directors. “I’ve heard diversity defined as celebrating differences, so here at SUU, I say that ISA is here to help celebrate differences from all sorts of cultures so that we can all feel like we’re one here together and just try to have that good atmosphere.”

Further information on ISA, including the application to join, can be found here.

Author: Emily Walters
Photographer: Hallie Woodruff
Editor: Audrey Gee