Pittsburg State University students and surrounding community members will have the opportunity to experience the various cultures of Pitt State’s international students. The International Student Association (ISA) will host their annual ‘International Food and Culture Fair’ from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 2. at Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center.
“It is essentially a celebration for diversity and culture,” said Long Xiao, senior in political science and president of ISA.
The event has been put on for over 12 years and will have 12 to 13 cultures represented. It will feature booths with food from about 14 different cultures, and performances from students from all over the world. Some of this year’s cuisine will include cheese bread and chocolate from Brazil, Korean style pancakes made with kimchi and potato, bubble milk tea and braised pork on rice from Taiwan, crepes and quiches from France, Arabic coffee and dates and many more dishes.
To sample the various dishes, attendees will need to purchase tickets at the front for $1 per ticket. They can use the tickets to select the food samples they would like to try.
“If you have anywhere from 6 to ten dollars, then you will be able to get a pretty good cultural experience with the purchase of a food sample and watching the performances,” Xiao said. “The audience can expect a variety of different things including dessert, appetizers, and entrees, and stuff like that. So, they can have a lot of choices for what they want to eat.”
Each table will have a card that says what the dish is and what is in it. So, if people have food allergies they will be able to know what are in the ingredients.
Performances will include a classical Chinese dance, modern dance from India, as well as performances by students from Korea, Paraguay, Finland, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Africa, Brazil, and other countries.
Guillaume Boudin, junior in business management, is on exchange from France and will give a presentation during the event.
“We are doing a presentation and PowerPoint (about France)…” Boudin said. “We are making some jokes about French cliché.”
He said lots of work has gone into preparing for the performance.
“We met with the French people…” Boudin said. “So, we met and gave our ideas for what we want to talk about and what is most important… we worked on our slides and made a training.”
Boudin said he believed that learning about other cultures is important and hopes that through the event many people can learn about other countries.
“To be open minded and not think you are the only one on Earth,” he said. “To not be ethnocentric, that’s really important… It’s going to be a good show.”
Vickie Mense, accounting specialist for the International Office and advisor for ISA, also spoke of what went into the planning of the event.
“We advertise, we get posters made, we send lots of Bulk-E emails and individual emails to the organizations,” she said. “Once they sign up, this year we had something new: they could sign up online…. Once they all signed up, we had a meeting for all the people that were going to serve food and tell them all the rules and regulations for that. Then for the people that were going to perform, we had a rehearsal on Sunday (Feb. 17) and one this evening (Feb. 20).”
Tickets can be purchased at the door. The price is $1 for admission and an additional $1 per ticket for food sampling. Children 10 and under receive free admission.
“It is essentially a fundraiser for the different organizations,” Xiao said. “A portion of it (proceeds) will go to ISA, then a portion of the profits will go to other organizations, so they will be going to the participants.”
Xiao said he hopes that the event will be “educational as well as enjoyable” for those that attend.
“I am hoping for three things,” he said. “First, that they will be educated on the diversity and cultures on campus. Second, that they’re going to be impressed by how much (effort) and hard (work) our students have put in, and third, that they just have fun.”
A shuttle will be available for students who do not have cars or other transportation to Memorial Auditorium. The shuttle will arrive every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m. and will loop from the Overman Student Center (glass point) to Memorial Auditorium.