Ethnic Food Fair represents cultures

Students sampled foods from around the world Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the annual Ethnic Food Fair, which is held every year by the Student Activities Board.

There was a variety of dishes and desserts from Sweden, Thailand, Japan and many others.

Michelle Keith, graduate assistant for the Student Services Office, was in charge of organizing the event. She coordinated with the university’s Cross Cultural Communication class, the international business class and the Black Student Union to prepare meals for this event. 

“Beth Merry’s Cross Cultural Communication class was involved. They were the primary food providers along with Mary Cumming’s international business class, and the Black Student Union provided a dish as well,” Keith said.

The Ethnic Food Fair has become an annual event for SAB and the Cross Cultural Communication class.

“We host [this event] usually once a year, sometimes twice a year and we do it in conjunction with SAB and Beth Merry’s class,” Keith said. 

For the Cross Cultural Communication students of Beth Merry, professor of communication, the Ethnic Food Fair serves as a graded project. The project, however,  goes further than making a foreign dish.

“They have to partner with someone from another country and get to know that person and their culture and spend time with them doing different activities,” Merry said.

Merry’s primary goal for having students do this project is to get them to push past their level of comfortability.

“They get to try new things that are totally outside of their comfort zone,” she said.

For other students who didn’t prepare a dish, Keith said this was a great event for them to challenge themselves and try something different.

“I think this is a really awesome event. You get to try new food that isn’t always found in the cafeteria or even in America. So, it’s a nice little sampling and the music is really good too.”

The music was provided by Steel Pan Dan from the Pittsburgh area. The artist is a solo steel drum artist. He mixes Caribbean, Reggae, Jazz and Brazillian songs with popular dance tunes to create his unique sound that set the mood for the Ethnic Food Fair.

“He has been at the ethnic food fair for as long as I have been at Waynesburg [and] this is my fifth year here,” Keith said.

The music and diverse food are two of the reasons why Merry and Keith thought the event went very well.

“I think they [the students] did beautifully this year. They picked a wide variety of foods … They did a great job of getting all different kinds of countries from Japan to Ukraine to South America to Africa,” Merry said.