Interfaith Center and Intercultural Center for PEACE host i-Dinner for UNF students

Lexi Suda

The i-Dinner takes place once a month, each time serving a different global cuisine and featuring a new cultural game. Photo by Lexi Suda
The i-Dinner takes place once a month, each time serving a different global cuisine and featuring a new cultural game. Photo by Lexi Suda

Last Thursday’s i-Dinner hosted by the Interfaith Center and Intercultural Center for PEACE served up some hot and ready Southern food and set up a match of cultural bingo for a night of global awareness about cultures found all over campus.

The dinner introduced students to some good old-fashioned “soul food” before getting their bingo markers ready. This American installment of the i-Dinner tradition featured some down-home dishes for international students not familiar with it, and a familiar taste to students with those types of roots. The southern cuisine was fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and collard greens.

According to senior sociology major Kalilah Jamall, the bingo portion of the culture party is designed to make students reach out and discover things about cultures and religions foreign to them.

“We have this kind of catchphrase called ‘uniting across differences,’” Jamall said. “ We want students to unite in their different backgrounds, beliefs and identities and come together through bingo to win these games.”

Jamall, the student emcee for the event, says that working with the Interfaith Center is helping her prepare for a future in sociology. She says she hopes to help communities who may be underprivileged or not have a voice in the public. Jamall also said she found value in diversity—a big part of the inspiration for i-Dinner.

“The initial start of i-Dinner was to have an event that promotes coming together as a community and acknowledging how cultures can be different,” Jamall said. The inspiration behind the initial start of the i-Dinner was to have an event that promoted coming together as a community and acknowledging how communities can be different. So we all have different worldviews, religious and nonreligious beliefs, we all come from different backgrounds, different socioeconomic statuses, different racial identities, different–we’re different across the board. So we thought How do we unite people with these differences through a fun and constructive way?’”

Megan Wingrove found it surprising that the legal age to drink in other countries is 18. Photo by Lexi Suda
Megan Wingrove found it surprising that the legal age to drink in other countries is 18. Photo by Lexi Suda

For some students, the i-Dinner was a portal to how homes in other countries work, and can be different to our lifestyles. Sophomore Meagan Wingrove attended her first international dinner party event with hopes to find out more about these different worlds her classmates live in every day.

Some things are legal you know, like in Europe the drinking age is like 18, so they get to party and do whatever and thats perfectly okay, Wingrove said. If I wanted to do that my parents would be like LOL no. So just kind of like age group similarities and differences.”

David Manjarres is a first-generation American on campus, coming from a line of Mexican and Colombian ancestry. He gained a bigger scope of the world and its cultures through campus events like the i-Dinner, and says what interests him most about his peers are the sorts of holidays and celebrations other cultures observe.

David Manjarres is a brother of the multicultural fraternity Sigma Beta Rho. Photo by Lexi Suda
David Manjarres is a brother of the multicultural fraternity Sigma Beta Rho. Photo by Lexi Suda

“I’m actually a part of a multicultural fraternity on campus called Sigma Beta Rho, Manjarres said. And the interesting thing about it is that it’s a melting pot of cultures, like a salad, when you shake it up to mix it around. So I’ve met people from Pakistan, from the Philippines, from Vietnam, from Latin America, from India. It’s really quite interesting and beautiful how we listen to different types of music and we tell different stories and how our religions explain different things.”

The Interfaith Center is featuring religion in their next event, Coffee and Conversation on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Founders Hall.

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