5th annual International Culture Night scheduled for Sept. 24

Gabrielle Stewart
September 19, 2019

How can you take a trip around the world, meet new people from different cultures and experience local cuisine, all in one day and without leaving Penn State’s University Park campus? You don’t have to visit another country — you can instead come to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ (EMS) International Culture Night.

Organized by EMS student volunteers, and supported by the Ryan Family Student Center, International Culture Night aims to celebrate the diversity of cultures represented at Penn State and in EMS. As one in five EMS students at University Park are international, the event provides an opportunity for students to share their backgrounds with one another.

Passion for bringing people together inspires student volunteers

When Nick Norman first answered the call for volunteers to plan the event, he didn’t know what he was getting into — but the idea of learning about other cultures intrigued him.

“I find it interesting to surround myself with other cultures that I don’t know much about,” said Norman, a junior majoring in meteorology and atmospheric science. “I didn’t live in a very culturally diverse area, so being able to immerse myself in these new experiences has given me a greater appreciation for them.”

To Norman, who works on advertising for the event, that’s reason enough to attend. But that’s not all. Beyond gaining perspective on the background of their fellow classmates, students can expect to meet new friends within the college and enjoy dishes from other countries.

That’s where Alon Sidel, a junior majoring in meteorology and atmospheric science, comes in. Assisting in booking local caterers, he believes the cuisine is one of the most important aspects of the event.

“Food is the great connector,” he said. “Being able to try food from other cultures and share conversations over it can really encourage Penn State students to share their experiences.” According to Sidel, many students discover local restaurants in this way — and some even discover food from their own culture in downtown State College.

Bringing these opportunities to other people motivated Sidel to volunteer for the event.

“I thought making the college more culturally aware was a noble goal,” he said. The participation of 10 to 20 cultural student organizations each year, in addition to international food, can also engage students in learning about other cultures, according to Sidel.

The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ 2019 International Culture Night will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Atrium of the Steidle Building on the University Park campus. The event is free and open to the public.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 26, 2019