Our project was originally imagined as a solution to increase multicultural awareness on campus. While our campus is very diverse and there are many international students who have a lot to offer, all three members of our team agreed that there was not enough embracing of this great diversity. We all came from different backgrounds, spoke several languages, and had traveled about the world, and we decided we wanted to show others how great it can be to learn more about other countries.
However, we knew that attempting to improve multicultural awareness and inclusion on campus and in the world is a huge undertaking that many people work on for their entire careers. Therefore, it was important for us to find a way to make this the goal of our project within the time frame and resources we had. Focusing on a small aspect and using University resources we were able to find a small but elegant proposal as a project. We focused on the first step to gaining interest in other cultures, just catalyzing students curiosity with…food! From our experience, we knew that this is a typical way in which people begin getting interested in other cultures.
The project consisted of buying various candies and other treats from 15 different countries ranging from the Americas and Europe to Africa and Asia using the small project BLI grant we were awarded. Attached to these treats was a list of facts about each country including: its capital, how to say ‘hello’ or other phrases, facts on popular music, famous landmarks, architecture, politics, currency, and other miscellaneous fun facts. As the people approached the table, they picked one of the treats, and we provided them with the fact sheet and would strike up a conversation if they desired it.
Our project’s goal was to raise awareness of different cultures, so to determine this, we asked the people who participated in the event what they had learned from our table. We created a short video compilation of some of the responses. The event had 77 registered attendees plus additional people who left before being able to provide their uniqname. We approximate this to be about 30 people at least. We purchased and handed out $188 worth of products from over 15 countries from around the world.
We consider the event to have been very successful and would like to thank the BLI for all their support.