International Night brought the vibrance of world cultures to the Rome Ballroom on Thursday evening. Funded by Undergraduate Student Government and presented by the Honors Council and Honors for Diversity, International Night featured exciting performances from many University of Connecticut cultural clubs while allowing students to learn about and appreciate diverse backgrounds. Performers, organizers and attendees alike enjoyed the event.
The first group to perform was UConn Taiko, a modern Japanese-style drum group. Their performance enlivened the crowd and brought energy to the beginning of International Night.
Between performances, members of the Honors Council asked the audience trivia questions about each continent. The table with the most correct answers won a prize at the end of the night.
Shah Ru Conn, a Bollywood-style dance troupe; B.A.I.L.E., a group that performs Latin dances0 and the UConn Irish Dance Team also performed.
Students agreed one of the most exciting performances of the evening was Husky Bhangra’s dance at the end of the night. Their dynamic, lively routine prompted great applause from the audience and the dancers fed off of this energy. The performers’ joy was evident in their faces and vibrant dance.
“I think it’s such a special event because it takes everyone from other different communities and it brings them together to show the culture and spread awareness about it,” Sejal Bhargava, a third-semester finance major and Husky Bhangra performer, said.
While the showcase went on, international foods were served. The buffet options ranged from Italian stuffed shells and arancini, to Asian dumplings and samosas, to Mexican quesadillas and empanadas. International beverages included Mexican spiced hot chocolate and mango lassi, an Indian drink made from yogurt and fruit. Later on in the evening, desserts like baklava, lemons bars, French macarons and Italian cannolis were served.
The mix of international food, dance and music engaged students in learning about other cultures. The energy in the room was palpable and made the event a lot of fun for the performers and their audience.
“It was very fun, the food was great and it helped me learn a lot about international cultures,” first-semester management and engineering for manufacturing major Alex Palvinski said.
Palvinski’s friend Aditya Dubey, a first-semester undecided engineering student, agreed.
“I was very engaging,” Dubey said. “The food, again, like he said, was great and I liked the trivia as well,”
The Honors Council achieved their goal of exciting students to learn about diverse cultural backgrounds. The opportunity International Night gave to student organizations to exhibit their culture allowed students of all different backgrounds to experience the amazing cultures of the world.
“I think that International Night is important because it gives students a chance to learn about other cultures in a way that’s very not-invasive... and it’s not a stressful environment,” third-semester English major Anna Scoppettone said. “International Night gives you a chance to see all these amazing cultures and get a taste of them without pressure being put on you.”
Even members of the Honors Council themselves found that International Night was a chance to learn.
“I think people don’t realize... how awesome some of the cultural groups here, are, at UConn,” third-semester natural resources major and Honors Council member Jackson Lyon said. “I had never seen the UConn Irish Dance Club before and I was totally blown away by what they put on, and a lot of people just don’t realize that that’s happening around campus, so [International Night is] really to bring them to the forefront for a night.”
The Honors Council prides itself on being able to bring this event and all of its learning opportunities to students.
“We really love putting on International Night… because it’s always just such a fun time, and it seems like the groups who perform really love coming here too,” Taryn Wisniewski, a seventh-semester secondary education major and Honors Council executive board member, said. “We just think it’s a really good environment to have people come out, have a good time and see some different cultures.”
Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.