Harrisites celebrate diversity during International Food Night

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International Food Night took place in the student cafeteria on Thursday, February 6. The purpose of the event is to celebrate the diversity of the Townsend Harris community by bringing and trying dishes from different cultures.

Coordinator of Student Activities Sarah Loew said that this year’s International Food Night had “more food,” as well as “greater representation of [our] school” compared to past years.  She shared, “FON was a really big inspiration because we felt like everyone really enjoyed learning about different cultures through dance. We thought maybe food would bring another element of culture and would be something that people could enjoy.” 

In addition to a greater variety of cultural cuisine, this year’s tickets were in the form of passports and the food credits were in the form of stamps. Student participants were asked to bring in food that serves at least 20 people. In return, they were rewarded with two hours of in-school community service hours and one food credit, which allowed them to receive foods from other cultures. Student senators were also expected to bring in food. 

Many students described pleasant experiences from attending the event. Freshman Lena Lin said, “I was surprised that there were so many foods from certain cultures I’d never even heard of.” In addition to food, Lena said, “It opened my eyes to new cultural clothes, music, and appreciation for diversity.” She confirmed that she will definitely go again next year. Junior Rachel Weng, also voiced her pleasure with the event. “I would love to try more food next year,” Rachel said. “I’d never had Shepherd’s Pie before. This was actually really good and I [even] want to replicate it myself.” 

Sophomore and Student Union secretary Zarif Rahman, who helped plan the event, stated, “All around the walls and tables, there were common words and phrases translated into different languages, and that seemed to be a nice addition.” As students traveled to various “continents,” Zarif described, “It actually was better than previous years as we had more people donating food, and a good turnout.” 

Senior and Student Union president Annlin Su said that the event “definitely peaks  students’ curiosity about other cultures as they walk around the cafeteria, browsing some unfamiliar dishes and listening to unfamiliar music…. It might not be a direct ‘eye opener,’ but [it] does get people interested.” 

Annlin stressed the importance of reviving International Food Night, saying, “In the midst of FON season, the SU Board wanted to introduce students to cultures through other methods besides music and culture.”

Ms. Loew added,  “[International Food Night] is a great way for students to learn more about the different heritages that make up our school through food, music, and games, and [our] appreciation for the diversity within our community.” The administration plans to host the event again next year. 

Photo by Joshua Vieira, Sports Photography Editor.