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CSU celebrates 'Cultural Fest'

Special Photo
Dances performed during the "Clayton County Cultural Celebration" last year include this Indian dance. The event, taking place on Saturday at the Clayton County Schools Performing Arts Center, will benefit local non-profit organizations.

Special Photo Dances performed during the "Clayton County Cultural Celebration" last year include this Indian dance. The event, taking place on Saturday at the Clayton County Schools Performing Arts Center, will benefit local non-profit organizations.

Hundreds of Clayton State University students took a world-wind tour around the globe on Thursday, but they never left the school's main campus in Morrow.

Well, technically it was their taste buds that took the quick trip around the world, during the school's third annual "Cultural Fest" event. The event allowed the students to sample food from all over the planet, with a menu ranging from Caribbean jerk chicken, to African jollof rice, to teriyaki chicken rolls, to an assortment of European sweets.

"We do it because it gives people an opportunity to interact with different cultural identities that they may not be familiar with," said Lakiesa Cantey Rawlinson, the university's assistant director of student life.

The Cultural Fest, along with a "Cultural Showcase: So You Think You Can Dance?" event on Thursday night wrapped up Clayton State's Culture Shock Week 2011, which included several programs on dealing with people from different backgrounds, cultures, genders, racial groups, and sexual orientation groups.

Rawlinson said the university's Department of Campus Life organized the Cultural Fest in partnership with the school's DEEP Peer Educators group. She said several other campus groups provided assistance, including the Campus Events Council, Americorps, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Theta Phi Alpha women's fraternity, the Vietnamese Student Association, Caribbean Student Association, the Office of International Programs, and the Office of International Services.

"Each year, we try to do something different," Rawlinson said. "This year, we actually had some students demonstrate how to make some different types of international food. The Vietnamese Student Association did a demonstration on how to make a spring roll, and Theta Phi Alpha did a demonstration on how to make Israeli chocolate rugelach."

Rawlinson also said at least 300 students came through the Cultural Fest area within an hour and a half, to sample the international cuisine.

There was a wide variety of dishes including: seaweed salad with jellyfish, raw calamari salad, pig feet, eclairs, miniature cannoli, popcorn, pretzels, tender season goat, African fired rice, Waikiki crunch, cucumber rolls, Pad gra-tiemprik, Pad Se Law, and Caribbean fruit mixes, according to a menu provided to students.

"I like getting to try all the different types of food, because it's stuff that I normally would not eat," said Micah Evans, a senior biology major from Stockbridge. Evans was a Cultural Fest volunteer, as part of Americorps. "Also, it's free, which is a college student's favorite word," she added.

Xiobahn Edwards, a senior biology major from Jonesboro, said "I guess being able to taste the different types of foods" is what attracted her to the event this year. It was her first time attending a Cultural Fest event. She added, however, that what she liked about it was that it served as an opportunity for students to come together, and have some fun.

"There are all of these different people here," she said. "It's good to see that unity."