Students explore cultures


Photo by: Elodi Breg

Students and faculty tried out different foods from around the world prepared by Aramark in the Smith University Center.

The Campus Activities Board (CAB), Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Life Office coordinated a Cultural Food Fest from 12-3 p.m. on Nov. 5 in the Smith University Center (UC) where the cultures of different places around the world and some of their signature dishes were presented to the students of FMU.

To kick off the event, J. Mark Blackwell, the director of international programs at FMU, opened the event with a short, informative presentation on the study abroad opportunities offered to students. Pamphlets were handed out outlining the various aspects of studying abroad and contact information to help lead students to their own study abroad experiences if they were interested.

Tymoshio Robinson, student body president, was a crucial part of creating the event. As the head of SGA, he worked closely with the CAB chair and the assistant vice president of Student Life to formulate the menu and the presentation.

“The Cultural Food Fest is an opportunity to educate ourselves and our palates on different cultures around the world and the popular foods and cuisines thereof,” Robinson said. “It is also an opportunity to expose ourselves as students to cultures other than our own. As student body president, I was heavily involved is almost all facets of planning and executing the event.”

After the presentation, the feast commenced. Dishes from seven different countries were featured in the event: banana licuado from Mexico; West African shrimp; vegetable pad Thai from Thailand; macaroons from France; lemon and garlic potatoes from Puerto Rico; pastitsio from Germany; and chicken paella from Spain.

The combination of cultural education and foreign dishes drew in quite the crowd. The event started at noon, so many students were trickling in from classes to experience the foreign delicacies.

“As time went by, students started showing up to try different foods and ultimately it was an extremely successful event,” Robinson said.

Robinson said he enjoyed the event; after countless time spent planning the event, he was finally able to taste all the dishes.

“It was an amazing experience,” Robinson said. “The food was pretty good. I tried things I’d never tried before and got to learn about different countries and cultures. The best dishes were easily the pastitsio and the macaroons.”

Madeline Winning, a sophomore psychology major and middle blocker on the women’s volleyball team, attended the event to taste some great food and learn more about the culture and food from different locations around the world.

“It was very cool to taste different foods from different countries while learning about the history and what was in each,” Winning said.

With the turnout and the feedback given from the students on campus, the Cultural Food Fest was a popular event. Students had a great opportunity to safely try out different foods while following COVID-19 guidelines. Considering the success of the event, the international program attracted some interest; you know what they say, “The way to a student’s heart is through their stomach.”