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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Students celebrate food and culture at annual Taste of the World

Nafi Food Express served Indian at Taste of the World. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

Students lined up on chalk marks, six feet apart, in front of four food trucks stationed in the various parking lots at the Wolfington Welcome Center, as they waited to taste Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican or Caribbean and American Soul food, on Oct. 14 for the annual Taste of the World event. 

The event was hosted by Bridging the Gap (BTG), an organization that promotes “awareness of all diversities and underrepresented lifestyles and ethnicities in order to create a more welcoming and accepting environment at Saint Joseph’s University.”

Jessica Atoo ’21, president of BTG, said the Taste of the World event is an extension of the organization’s goal of promoting representation on campus. 

 “It’s important to have [the event] on campus to bring some recognition, not only to the cultures represented, but also the [Office of] Inclusion and Diversity, which is a little space in comparison to a lot of other things on campus,” Atoo said.

The African-Caribbean Student Association and Black Student Union, the Asian Student Association, the Hawks of India and the Latinx Student Association hosted the food trucks, which offered cuisine from their cultures. 

Students line up to order from QT Vietnamese. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

Students waited eagerly in front of GiGi’s and Big R Caribbean & American Soul Food, QT Vietnamese Sandwich, Nafi Food Express and Dos Hermanos Tacos. A meal from each of these trucks cost $3, with pre-sold tickets allowing students to collect food at 15 minute intervals. The intervals and chalk marks ensured adherence to social distancing guidelines.

Stella Gonzalez ’21, president of Latinx Student Association, said food was a great way to represent different cultures. 

“Food is such an essential part of our [Latinx] culture,” Gonzalez said. “It’s important to know [about food] when trying to learn about Latin and Hispanic heritage.”

In previous years, the Taste of the World event was held buffet-style, by several more student diversity organizations, in The Perch. Despite having fewer organizations participating this year, Taste of the World still celebrated cultural awareness on campus, according to Sagar Pandya, graduate student and president of Hawks of India. 

Pandya said Taste of the World is a place for student organizations to share their cultures with the St. Joe’s community.

“We are excited to represent our foods and culture at this event,” Pandya said, “and also to learn new things from the other student organizations represented.”  

Hawks of India was represented by the Nafi Food Express truck, which served Indian dishes such as chicken tikka masala, samosas and chana masala.

After collecting their food, many students sat at socially-distantanced tables arranged under a tent, and on red chairs scattered around the Wolfington Welcome Center’s lawn. 

Dos Hermanos Tacos represented Latinx Student Association at Taste of the World. PHOTO: SHANNON KELLY ’24/THE HAWK

Mikaela Thomas ’22, vice president of BTG, said she ordered from both GiGi’s and Big R Caribbean & American Soul Food and QT Vietnamese. 

“They are both really good,” Thomas said. “It was different having QT Vietnamese, but it was good to branch out and have something that I never tried [before].”

Jessica Smith ’23, first time attendee of the Taste of the World event, said her friend suggested they come to the event and that she would have not sought out Vietnamese food on her own.

“Neither of us had ever tried Vietnamese food,” Smith said. “So it was a cool experience. It was awesome, we were both really surprised and we thought it was really good.”

GiGi’s and Big R Caribbean & American Soul Food food truck served its specialties of jerk chicken, fried chicken, fried whiting fish and, the fan-favorite, mac and cheese.

Anthony Fitzgerald, manager of GiGi’s and Big R Caribbean & American Soul Food, said he hopes the students will spread the word to potential new customers after trying his food.

“If people like a particular type of food, they will do that,” Fitzgerald said. “Our food is good, so we want them to tell other people.”

GiGi’s and Big R Caribbean & American Soul Food served chicken, rice and beans and mac and cheese. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

BTG’s Thomas said she hopes students felt a sense of normalcy, and enjoyed the music, food and overall environment of the event. 

“I want students to remember what it’s like to come together, have fun, meet new people, try new things and just get a chance to experience the different cultures that we do have on campus,” Thomas said.

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