Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 20, 2018

International Fair Hermela (8)

From left to right: Dagmawit Alemu, Elias Abdu, Tobechukwu Nwaelugo and Naomi Yilma. Front: Epherata Molla

Photo by Hermela Mebrahtu

MU Community Comes Together in Celebration of Culture, Diversity at International Fair

Avis McGovern 

Manchester University celebrated its biennial International Fair from 12-4 p.m. on Sun., April 15, in the Physical Education and Recreation Center.

The International Fair was put on by the Intercultural Center and promoted by Michael Dixon, MU director of Intercultural Services, who served as chair of the event. "Our office is always looking to spread awareness of diversity on campus and the International Fair is an opportunity for the students to discover and celebrate the various cultures we have here on campus, Dixon said. “It also gives the community outside of campus a look into our diversity.”

The event featured booths that served food, displayed clothing and offered information about different cultures. MU is home to students from 20 different nations. Students were also given $5 in tickets that they could purchase food with at the event.

Zander Willoughby, a senior who works in the Intercultural Center Office, volunteered at the event. “The International Fair represents Manchester's commitment to diversity, a global view of the world and how so much of the Manchester experience is having fun and learning at the same time!” he said.

“It is a great opportunity for both international and domestic student alike,” he continued. “For international students, it's an opportunity to share their foods and culture. For domestic students, it's an opportunity to learn from the amazing cultural resources we have on campus.”

Victor Banks, a first-year student, said: “It was great to be able to see my peers express a part of themselves that they do not get to do daily on campus. The fair really allowed me to discover the cultures that are present on campus and gave me an opportunity to learn about different foods and heritages.”

The International Fair is not put together overnight. “Planning for the International Fair begins months before the event,” Willoughby said. “So many people are involved, in the end, it becomes more than just an Office of Multicultural Affairs event, but truly a Manchester community event. My favorite part this year was managing the kitchen over the weekend. I got to help cook food from Albania, Palestine, Haiti, Ethiopia and more!”

Tammy Baker, assistant director of Intercultural Services said: "I was honored to have a small part in it this year." She continued: “The biggest challenge with doing the International Fair was getting volunteers. We spent three days total to set up for the International Fair. The volunteers cooked food Friday and Saturday.

There were even a few surprises. “Saturday we decorated the gym only to find some of the balloons that we aired up had fallen to the ground,” Baker said. “Luckily, we had time on Sunday to fix that and do a run through before opening the doors."

Students will be able to explore more about the various cultures on campus by checking out the new Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center that is going to be up and running next fall while they wait for the next International Fair in April of 2020.