April 13, 2024

International Festival highlights campus diversity, culture

This year’s International Festival features performances and food provided by university clubs, international students and members of the greater community.

International music and smells of homemade foods filled the Pedestrian Walkway on Sept. 27 as the International Festival exhibited the varying cultures represented on campus.

A lineup of dancers, singers, drummers and samurai took to the stage centered at the top of Ped Walkway, entertaining students and visitors alike.

University of Tennessee organizations offered a variety of foods including stuffed bell peppers from Sudanese students, bratwurst with rolls from the German club and chickpea curry with rice from the Indian Student Association.

Roger Yuan, a member of the Chinese Culture Club (CCC), oversaw the bubble tea booth. “These five jugs of tea were made the day before and then all the bubbles had to be made the day of,” said Yuan. “So we woke up really early this morning and made a bunch of tapioca pearls.”

The CCC offered two types of tea: Thai tea and black tea. “The Thai tea is really popular in most Asian countries. It’s a lot sweeter and a different tea leaf,” said Yuan. “The black tea is more of a coffee tasting tea and more bitter, which is why Thai tea sells a lot faster.”

The International House, an on-campus organization engaging international and domestic students with events year-round, puts together the annual event to bring together the university’s international organizations and highlight cultures from around the world in one place.

This year’s festival was the 34th to take place, and organizers have been preparing for it since before the semester started.

“This is our biggest event of the academic year,” said Paola Bustos, a graduate assistant at the International House. Bustos was head of marketing and design for this year’s event. “I worked with one of my student assistants on creating the logo, on facilitating information about the event and we did a few giveaways of t-shirts to create some hype for the event.”

Many clubs have since become involved with the festival over the years. Most culture and language clubs offered information on their own programs in addition to selling food.

The festival gave interested students an opportunity to learn about clubs and organizations available on campus.

Edited by Ainsley Kelso and Grace Goodacre

Featured photo by Jack Vaughan

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Class of '23, Journalism and Political Science major