THHS’ first International Food Night

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By Bindu Koyi and Amrin Rahman, Staff Writers

On Thursday, January 31st, Townsend Harris welcomed a new event to celebrate its diversity: International Food Night.

The event was organized by SU secretary Pooja Suganthan and Senior SLT Christopher Thomas, who, according to Junior Class President Annlin Su, “researched decorations, created a layout of the cafeteria, and worked diligently to figure out the specific details as to how the event would run (e.g. ticket prices, food prices, how to get contributions, the theme, etc).” The SU was in charge of gathering volunteers and advertising the event.

Right after the school day ended, tables were set up in the cafeteria and filled with various foods from distinct cultures. The dishes, ranging from local Trinidadian food to popular Chinese delicacies, represented Harrisites’ diverse student body.

Students who had FON and other clubs were hungry after a long day at school. Pooja said, “As a result, international food night was a great way for hungry students to appreciate different cultures and grab a quick, inexpensive bite.”

Unlike a traditional bake sale, the SU implemented a new system of purchasing food at the event, which involved purchasing tickets outside of the cafeteria. The tickets were designed to resemble boarding passes to make it seem as though the students were traveling around the world. Students who brought an item to the event received one ticket to try whichever dish they wanted. This incentive succeeded in prompting many students to bring in their dishes. Pooja, who brought in pasta with sausage and marinara sauce, explained, “Although I’m Sri Lankan, South Asia seemed to be well represented based on the initial response surveys, so I tried to bring in something from another region.”

Junior Emily Tan, who tried the soba noodles made by music teacher Mariko Sato, praised the event, saying, “The Student Union is also reasonable with the prices and the quantity of food you get with each ticket so you would get your money’s worth.” For instance, one ticket could get you an entire plate of japchae, a type of Korean noodles. Junior Lucas Ayala added that he, too, “was very happy with the amount of food [he] got for a dollar.”

The main purpose of the event was to introduce and encourage Harrisites to try unique dishes. “I never had an opportunity to try soba noodles until International Food Night,” Emily admitted.“I liked the concept of being introduced to food that I otherwise would never have the opportunity to try.”

However, some members of the SU board believe that there could be improvements made to the event. Pooja noted, “One improvement would be seeing that more cultures get represented. Although [the event] had ample food from various regions, some regions were less represented than others.” Christopher agreed and also suggested that, if this event is continued, “[He] would send out the forms earlier” in order to get more people to bring in food.

Some students also believe that the event should have been advertised to parents and should be incorporated into larger school events. Lucas remarked, “It could be incorporated into a bake sale or used as concessions for FON or S!NG.”

Students hope that this will be held annually after the positive feedback received from students and staff alike. “Based on the positive reviews [the SU has] received, I definitely think it has the potential to become an annual event,” Christopher said.