Students, faculty and staff members from over 40 countries were united on Friday, April 20, inside of the Hansel E. Tookes, Sr. Student Recreation Center for Florida A&M University’s 5th Annual International Food and Cultural Awareness Festival.
The festival was held in order to celebrate the cultural diversity of the students, faculty and staff on FAMU’s campus. Representatives from each country were encouraged to bring a dish as a representation of their culture’s cuisine.
Hundreds of people, including President Larry Robinson, fled to the recreation center to get a taste of the wide variety of international dishes and learn about other cultures.
“It has been really fascinating to see the diversity of students on our university’s campus,” said Robinson. “Events like this show how much we, at Florida A&M University, appreciate the ethnic diversity and geographical diversity of our students. Having good food and people to enjoy this with is the icing on the cake.”
Tonya Tatum, Event Coordinator and Director of Health Services, spent time serving food to the students and overseeing the festival.
“A few years ago, this was only an idea,” Tatum said. “We [Student Health Services] wanted to highlight the diversity that we have on campus. We felt that food was great way to represent these cultures. Now, this is our fifth year throwing this event and we are so with the event’s success.”
The walls of the indoor basketball court were lined with flags from different countries and filled with students and faculty, many of whom dressed in culturally representative attire.
People lined up to try the array of cultural dishes that were offered, while several international representatives, as well as campus organizations, set up booths in order to educate students about their food, clothing and traditions.
“We are here today to present the food and traditions from Saudi Arabia to FAMU’s students,” said Abdulmhsoen Alqarni, President of the Saudi Student Association. “Our booth has been visited by students from different countries today so I feel as though I’m learning something about them, too.”
The festival was filled with culturally diverse music, performances and educational displays, while co-hosts Chelsea D. Brown and Zoe Powell made culturally-themed wardrobe changes throughout the event in representation of some of the countries at the festival.
“I feel that it is very important to recognize the different nationalities that form the substance of this university,” said, Brown, a global security and international affairs graduate student. “We’ve had an incredible line up of entertainment on the stage today, we’ve had songs performed, poems read and even a Zumba class to help us work off the calories from the food we ate.”
For updates on upcoming events on FAMU’s campus please visit famunews.com