By Jac St. Jean
Minutes before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, waves of students and members of the Springfield College community funneled their way into the small entrance of the Dodge Room in the Campus Union to get “A Taste Around the World.”
This was the first of four events sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion throughout February to celebrate Black History Month. Other collaborators that helped run the event included Y Relations, the International Center, Y Club, the International Student Organization, the Black Student Union and the Asian Culture Club.
Members of these organizations waited eagerly to serve the crowd of students and community members, and piled plates high with an array of food from local international restaurants. Indian, Chinese, Lebanese/Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Jamaican, Spanish and Mexican food was served.
Student favorites included the churros from Moctezuma’s Mexican Restaurant, sweet plantains from Yaad Food Jamaican Restaurant, chicken and beef empanadas from Mesa Buffet, and chicken curry and garlic naan from Panjabi Tadka. All of these restaurants reside in Springfield and represent many cultures of people who live in the city and a few students who attend Springfield College.
Y-Club played a major role in the smooth running of the event. Along with serving the many varieties of international food, members of the club advertised their partnership with YMCA Peru, where Springfield College students travel to Lima, Peru and help the women in the country with economic development. Participants of this service program will not only learn about the historical culture of the South American country, but also help in a capacity-building service project.
Jade Kiang, the volunteer director of the Y Club, shared her perspective on organizing this event and the importance of bringing international cultures to Springfield College.
“I think a lot of different groups of people came,” Kiang explained. “There [were] a lot of international students, because they were one of the organizations that helped to run [the event]… it just brought a lot of different types of people together which is cool.”
Kiang continued, “We have a lot of international students on campus, and they don’t really get a lot of recognition. This is kind of a way to get to know more about them and their culture while also celebrating it at the same time.”
International students from Nepal, Ghana, and many other countries were in attendance enjoying the tastes of the many cultures that were represented in the Dodge Room. Yahya Yahya, an international student from Ethiopia, expressed his joy in attending the event with his fellow international students and being able to learn more about other cultures.
“I think it’s kind of cool because you get to taste different cuisines with different people from different backgrounds,” Yahya expressed. “It’s a good way to get to know different people. I actually liked some of the food, like Lebanese food, and some Indian food which is my favorite because I have a lot of Indian friends.”
Yahya also shared his take on the event overall, and highlighted the aspect of food as a method of bringing people together.
“It’s important for Springfield College to do this,” Yahya stated. “I feel like people are in their own bubbles, so when you have an event like this you bring people from different cultures, backgrounds, and you get them together. Food is the common thing that brings people together.”
Yahya’s words rang true as over a hundred people came together to learn about, celebrate and enjoy the collection of cultures represented. For more information about the rest of the Black History Month events, head to https://springfield.edu/news/springfield-college-black-history-month-2022.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College