Multicultural Potluck – Barger Leadership Institute Student Voices

Multicultural Potluck

By Emerson Krause

At the University of Michigan, we observed that many students do not have meaningful
opportunities to engage with other cultures, leading to cultural isolation and a lack of appreciation. Our
project group understands the importance of cross-cultural interaction as research shows that cultural
interaction can be an indicator of student performance and well-being; further, cultural exposure is a way
to help students prepare for a more diverse future. Our project sought to create an opportunity for students
to interact with other cultures in a productive setting through a multicultural potluck. We reached out to
many on-campus support groups, such as MESA, Trotter, and the BLI, to gain insight into what an event
like this might look like. Using the advice of our stakeholders, we landed on Jerusalem Garden, Curry On,
and the Jamaican Jerk Pit as caterers, as each restaurant has a rich cultural history and a connection and
involvement with the campus. Our event garnered a very large turnout! Every single seat was filled at
points, and we had no leftover food. Most pertinently, so many people made new connections and met
various new people through this event, which fulfilled our overarching goal! We are very thankful for the
support provided by the BLI to support us both financially and in planning this event.

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