Each year, Saint Leo University’s Intercultural Students’ Association (ISA) hosts international food night, which showcases a variety of different foods from all around the world. On Nov. 16, the Student Activities Building and Student Community Center Loggias came to life as scores of students, faculty, and staff came to enjoy samples of scrumptious food from all around the world.
The Intercultural Students’ Association aims to bring cultural awareness to University Campus and degrade any existing cultural stereotypes. By hosting international food night annually, the organization can introduce cultural diversity to students, as well as employees.
“There were definitely some changes this year as compared to the previous thirteen years of the event. With the introduction of a completely new executive board compiled of mostly international and freshmen students, there were certainly some challenges putting together the event. In addition to hosting the Tampa Taiko Japanese drumming group, DJ Kyle, and the Kumba African dancers and drummers, we also were graced with the stylings of the Slam Poetry Club and Hip-Hop dancing from Saint Leo student Davion Teaheartt,” said Katriel Grant-Hope, the president of ISA.
Weeks before the event, students were invited to cook their national dishes, which were showcased at the event. Many students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share their culture in such a way and appreciated the cultural inclusion. Melissa Bryan, a junior, majoring in Criminal Justice was one such person.
“I am from Jamaica, and when I am here, I don’t really get to prepare my Jamaican dishes as often as I would like. Food is one of my most favorite things in the world, and being able to share the food from Jamaica to the wider Saint Leo population is an amazing opportunity. This is my third international food night that I have attended, and every year I actively participate. I cooked pork which is a very popular food from back home” she said.
Daniela Alonso, a junior, majoring in psychology was very eager to enjoy the food which was available.
“The long line definitely did not deter me from getting food. This is my second time coming to international food night at Saint Leo University, and last year, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I did not cook, but I like to see the many different cultures here at school being represented in such a way. Seeing all this reminds me of how diversified we are here on campus. I like that though we are different, we can all come together and share our cultural experiences in this capacity.”
Some of the foods which were available included Jamaican curry goat, escovitch fish, oxtail, Cuban empanadas, curry chicken, Trinidadian cabbage and roti, Irish soda bread, and stewed peas. There were also a variety of hot and cold beverages including hot chocolate, chai latte, and fruit punch.
When asked about the success of the event, Grant-Hope, stated that
“This year’s Feast for the World was certainly a success by insider and outsider’s perspective. We had approximately four hundred people attend. It is truly humbling to see the hard work and efforts of so many people come to fruition especially considering our purpose on this campus. In addition to promoting and exhibiting cultural tolerance and diversity, we are also in the endowment phase of creating an international student scholarship. All of our proceeds from our organization go into the scholarship fund. Some of those items were featured for sale during Feast for the World.”
Grant-Hope was most definitely hopeful about the success of ISA’s future as she has many plans in place for the development of the organization, and our Saint Leo community.
“Hopefully the Saint Leo Community will continue to support our future events and fundraising efforts. As president, it was truly a blessing to see all the support from the Saint Leo community, and on behalf of the Intercultural Student Association executive board, co-advisers, and co-sponsors, we’re eternally grateful and look forward to next year!”