Students experience cultural diversity during international food festival


Photo by: Keyla Shepard

Students try international dishes at the Cultural Food Fest. The dishes’ recipes, which came from countries such as Greece, Brazil and Jamaica, were made available at the event.

FMU’s Student Government Association (SGA), the Multicultural Advisory Board, and Multicultural Student Affairs partnered to host the annual Cultural Food Fest, where students could taste five dishes from other countries.

The event was held on Oct. 18 in the Smith University Center and was free to students with their student IDs.

The food served at the event included dishes from different countries such as Greek pastitsio, Brazilian cheese bread, Swedish apple cake, Jamaican jerk chicken and Asian sautéed teriyaki vegetables.

Along with being able to taste the prepared dishes, the event’s sponsors handed out recipes for the foods served. This gave the students the opportunity to attempt to make multicultural foods on their own.

According to Shemekia Brown, a senior sociology major and one of the coordinators for the event, the foods were selected by the students involved in the sponsoring organizations. A board of executive directors of the event that composed a list of proposed food to serve at the event. There were 12 suggested dishes that were narrowed down by the organizations.

The food itself, after selected, was prepared by Aramark, but it was served by students from the sponsoring organizations.

Although the food was a major part of the event, giving out free food was not the only purpose of this event.

“The purpose of the Cultural Food Fair is to spread diversity through food,” Brown said. “Our primary goal in our organizations are to spread diversity throughout campus, so we decided to highlight different cultures through food.”

Students who attended the food fest also consistently said that it was a good way to become more aware of other cultures and the world outside of the U.S.

“I think it’s great to make students knowledgeable of the world around them and help them realize that the world is bigger than the country in which they are from,” Kendria Mason, sophomore pre-nursing major, said.

“I didn’t expect FMU to do something like this, so it was fun to find out what food they had chosen,” Rachael DuBose, freshman biology major, said. “It makes Francis Marion more aware of culture, and it brings them together.”

The event also provided an opportunity for FMU students to meet one another.

“It was awesome because there was food and I made new friends,” Daveyania Platt, senior healthcare administration major, said.

The organizations also surveyed students who attended the fair. The surveys served as a way for the organizations to receive feedback from students regarding the food, the event as whole and the time of day in which the event was held.

The Cultural Food Fest takes place every year. Students are encouraged to join any of the organizations, particularly the Multicultural Advisory Board, to take part in the planning of this event. According to Brown, the organizations accept students and all opinions are heard in regards to what food to serve at future events.