By Kate Stukenborg
This year’s International Dinner, organized by the St. Mary’s Diversity Club, was a fantastic night of dancing, eating cultural foods, and drinking tea. Read more about how the Diversity Club and the International Dinner help show that a diverse student body makes for a more interesting community.
Who knew the International Dinner could fit so much diversity in one room? On Nov. 10, the numerous cultures of the St. Mary’s student body were represented by their clothing, food, and dance. When asked about her favorite part of the dinner, Isra Ahmed (12), co-president and four-year member of the diversity club, responded that is “The food. One hundred percent.” On each plate alone there was a colorful sampling of homemade dishes including potato samosas, fried rice and tres leches cake. Though the food was delectable, it was not the only special experience the International Dinner had to offer.
Rhea Vohra (10) says that she loved learning about and seeing cultures other than her own. For example, all those present watched a Bollywood dance featuring Riya Valaulikar (10) and the dance group with whom she has performed for three years. Valaulikar says “with Bollywood dance it’s more semi classical, so it has elements from Indian classical dance with hip hop influences.” The performance was entertaining and impressive, and the group even taught people a few moves later in the evening.
The International Dinner is just one way in which the Diversity Club actively works to cultivate an environment of cultural acceptance at St. Mary’s. The event shows the shared desire for diversity at St. Mary’s and works to foster unification of the student body.
To keep the desire for diversity fervent outside of the dinner, the club also helps bring in chapel speakers and encourages cultural awareness in the community throughout the entire year. Club presidents Lily Monroe (12) and Isra Ahmed (12) believe that recognizing the wide array of cultural holidays the student body celebrates is one additional thing that St. Mary’s could do better to include everyone. Monroe says, “even just acknowledging that the holidays are there would be a big step.” Additionally, the two spoke about the idea of beginning a cultural day at school similar to the International Dinner, but including the entire student body.
Monroe puts the mission of the Diversity Club simply: “Inclusion.” The International Dinner and those involved with the event make it obvious that promoting inclusion helps create a more vibrant environment, as well as a more diverse, open-minded, and aware student body.