A Bite of Multicultural Lynchburg


Poster for The International Food Festival

Emma Coffey ~ Guest Writer

Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 4, the University of Lynchburg will be hosting International Education Week with a variety of different cultural events. Director of the Center for Global Education Ellen Thompson, said that “some of the events during this week will be themed dinners, a study abroad fair, an international food festival, and more.” 

     According to Thompson, some of the popular events during the week are, the International Food Festival and the Study Abroad Fair. Thompson said the festival is, “about getting people and culture together in one room.”

     International Student Advisor, Janice Quattlebaum, said that “the International Food Festival has been hosted for over ten years.” The festival will take place from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the Memorial Ballroom in the Hall Campus Center on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. According to Quattlebaum, “over 400 students will be served at the event with foods from different countries.” There will be 17 different countries represented, such as Australia, South Africa, South Korea, Germany, Mexico, and more. Entertainment will be provided, including a singer and African and Indian dancers in traditional dress. Quattlebaum also said that “the planning for this event begins as early as February, for reserving a space and obtaining funding.”  

     Faculty and students were able to register their participation in early September and  a stipend was provided for each table to buy ingredients to cook, or order food for their table.  An allergy information page will be provided for students.

     According to Quattlebaum, she hopes that the event will create a sense of comradery and a better connection between students. She believes that food connects people, and, as a result, Quattlebaum said this event is an “opportunity for people who have never traveled outside of the country to have a taste of what culture is like.”

     Dr. James Roux, a Communications Studies professor, said that students should come to the food festival because the “world is becoming more diverse. We need to be more globally sensitive. This is a way to learn about food and culture.”

     According to Dr. Roux, the purpose of this event is to celebrate different cultures and allow students to learn more diversity. It is also a chance to promote study abroad. Dr. Roux said, “The festival will benefit the campus community by exploring different cultures through food and make students more worldly. Students will gain enjoyment from a fun event and more sensitivity to diversity.”

     Brennae Spence, an international student from the Bahamas, said that “she enjoys the International Food Festival because she is an international student.” According to her, it is also a great way to be exposed to other cultures and people from other countries on campus. While Spence does enjoy the event, she will not be actively participating in it this year. She said she normally helps with the Bahamian table, but this year she will be partaking as a regular student. 

     According to Spence, “students can gain an understanding of food and entertainment in different cultures and have conversations about these cultures from students and teachers from those countries.” She said that “students should come to the event because it is a free opportunity for students to travel and get a taste of about 15-20 cultures without having to leave campus.” Spence is looking forward to enjoying the entertainment while trying different kinds of food. 

     This is the perfect event for students who are looking to learn more about international cultures and try new foods.

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