Rec center houses International Food and Awareness Festival

Numerous flags from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, China, Jamaica, Brazil and India flooded the Hansel E. Tookes Sr. Student Recreation Center as Florida A&M celebrated its inaugural International Food and Awareness Festival.

Melvena Wilson, a health educator with student health services and event organizer, said this cultural event served as a way to connect FAMU to the community as a recruiting tool.

“We want everyone to know how vastly diverse we are on campus,” Wilson said. “With over 150 students from 37 countries, many cultures were represented throughout the university.”

Felipe Ceccon, a senior agriculture student, represented his home – Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Ceccon has attended FAMU for ten months and said he loves the cultural differences and freedom both the university and the country have to offer. 

“I felt happy when I saw my other Brazilian friends here,” Ceccon said. “Getting in touch with so many other people and cultures, this is a great learning experience for them.”

Learning about the many cultural differences made Ceccon grow fonder of America, he said.

Ceccon was one of nearly 150 people who attended the festival, which kicked off FAMU’s Minority Health Month.

More than 25 dishes were prepared to represent the different countries represented, and students voted for their favorite.

One crowd favorite was a Persian herb stew, Ghormeh Sabzi. The dish originated in Iran and contains chicken, red kidney beans, onion, parsley, cilantro, fenugreek, lemon, turmeric, salt and pepper.

Robert Reeves, a senior pre-physical therapy student from Philadelphia, enjoyed the food.

“I’ve never been disappointed with Jamaican food, but I’m looking forward to all the food and will decide my favorite from there,” Reeves said.