Food Fest introduces different dishes

Kristen Halsey

Every year, students and community members get the opportunity to experience food and dance from around the world.

The All Nations Club, with the help of faculty in the International Programs Office, hosts an annual International Food Fest held at the Jacobetti Center.

This year, the event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 31.

Tony Tollefson, coordinator of International Students and Scholars, is the supervisor for the event this year.

“It’s a student project and so I’m in an advising role,” Tollefson said. “I’m learning a lot from the different students we have. It’s going to give me a new perspective and getting to work with the students more directly.”

Tollefson said he enjoyed going to the event and learning from it in the past.

“I was surprised at the amount of non-international students that are in the All Nations Club that are just interested in learning more about different countries,” Tollefson said. “It really helps bring the added diversity to our campus.”

A challenge for the club’s student members is juggling both school and planning this yearly event. In order to help plan they get assistance from the faculty to help guide them and help with their managing as both a student and an event planner.

Angela Maki, a faculty member of the International Programs Office, was once the faculty coordinator for the event and now helps by keeping track and printing tickets for the event.

“The biggest challenge is to get everyone organized and keeping up to date with what students have done,” Maki said. “Everybody is busy with school, jobs, etc. Chris Kibit is the real backbone to this event by helping with all the food. He does a lot for this event, more than anyone really realizes. The students do a lot by selling tickets, getting volunteers and advertising.”

Wendy Yuann, senior international studies major, is the president for the All Nations Club and has been involved since she was a freshman.

“It’s been very busy,” Yuann said. “We all have school at the same time and have extra time to deal with this event plan all the activities. Tony and I actually meet up a couple Saturdays and go over what we have so far and talk about posters and everything involved.”

The club divides into different committees that choose recipes and market for the event.

“The people in the organization taught me how to do it, so I kind of followed them, and this year we have our group supporting each other and everyone does different parts of planning,” Yuann said.

Both local and international students submit recipes for the event. The dishes that are made for the event change yearly depending on who is involved in the club. This year there is a central Asian theme to the recipes, while in previous years African was a heavy theme in the dishes.

“We actually changed a lot of our recipes this year,” Yuann said. “Before, we did a lot of recipes from Africa because previous presidents were from Africa. This year we have a few more Asian-themed dishes because we have more Asian people involved and they provided more of their home country dishes.”

Another change to the event is adding a presentation from some of the students’ home countries.

Every year, the event has trivia questions that quiz participants on countries from around the world. They also have dancers that present different traditional dances. This year, they will also include a presentation created by students in the club.

“The thing that will be different this year at the All Nations Club, we have different countries presenting different things at our weekly meetings so we’re going to get that involved in the event,” Yuann said. “The group members will be able to go on stage and give different facts about their countries. Instead of just a trivia question, the people will be able to go on stage and present.”

All Nations Club is also looking for volunteers for the event and anyone can get involved.

All the club members involved are looking forward to the event being successful. Yuann said that both student and community members will have the opportunity to come out and experience different cultures’ food and sit down and socialize with each other.

Ticket prices for NMU students are $5 in advance and $8 at the door. For community members, tickets will be $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Tickets are available at the International Programs Office in 145 Whitman Hall.

For additional information or to volunteer, call (906) 227-2510 or email [email protected] or [email protected].