A taste of diversity

A taste of diversity

Erika Collin

Being able to fully understand a culture involves experiencing it firsthand and becoming immersed in it. There are dances to be watched, songs to be heard and food to be tasted.

During Grand Valley State University’s weeklong Intercultural Festival, there will be a multitude of events where students can experience new cultures by tasting cuisines from around the world.

“Food is something really interchangeable for people to grab onto and (to) explore different cultures,” event coordinator Alex Burkholz said. “By getting involved with it, yourself, and actually trying out different things, you’re able to take part in it firsthand and fully embrace what the food from that culture tastes like.”

One of the events involving food is a Japanese culture spring festival called Haru Matsuri, which was organized by the Japanese Culture Association. This event is being held March 11 in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will consist of Japanese games and activities along with several informational tables about Asian culture where attendees can gain knowledge about countries and eat foods specific to those countries.

“They can get a taste of what Japanese culture is by going around to specific tables and learning and eating cuisines,” JCA Treasurer Juan Lopez said. “It’s going to be a really chill place to go and get a nice background knowledge of Japan.”

At the event, there will be sushi, curry, tea and miso soup. Yakitori and yakisoba will also be available, which is a type of skewered chicken.

“I believe food represents a big portion of Japan,” Lopez said. “A lot of cultural organizations have a lot of cuisines that they focus on or that they use to define who they are.”

Another event taking place this week is the Polish and Russian food and literature event on March 11 in Kirkhof room 2270 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. There will be poetry reading, musical performances and Eastern European foods such as ox tail and baklava.

“They’ll be presenting different things from the Russian culture but you’ll also be able to firsthand taste different foods from that area of the world so you’ll be able to feel a part of it in a way,” Burkholz said.

Another food-centric event is the Soul Food Café, which is sponsored by the student organization Revolution on Campus and will be held March 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Pere Marquette Room. While students show off their talents and perform, traditional soul food will be served, including deep fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and string beans.

“It’s all about having a home-cooked meal,” said Bryce Bailey, vice president of finance.

For more information about Intercultural Festival events, visit www.gvsu.edu/if.