By Audrey Yawn
The Namaste club is canceling “Taste the Nations” for the first time in 13 years because of short planning times and lack of participation.
The club, which was started by Roy Philip, associate professor of marketing, is made up of 25-30 members from nearly 20 countries. Their mission is to create a safe haven for international students and to expose Trevecca to international culture.
“We put on events like Bollywood movie night and Taste the Nations to help the students on Trevecca’s campus be more aware of the international students here,” said Philip.
Philip said Taste the Nations had to happen on March 29, two weeks earlier than it’s normal date, which impacted the amount of time to prepare.
“I was shown the dates in June and thought, “That can’t be right why not April?” and Dean (Matt) Spraker showed me that there was a conference, TNT, and Easter taking three of the weekends and the only weekend left was before finals so I said, “Okay we’ll do March 29th.”
A lack of participation from the members also contributed to Philip’s decision.
“There was a general lack of participation in planning set-up and clean-up,” said Philip. “This [lack of help] has been going on for eight years. It fell in with other factors creating the perfect storm so I had no choice but to cancel.”
The president of Namaste club Samuel Iglesias said members don’t always contribute evenly which leaves a lot of work for Philip.
“We rely on the members… and give them graceful deadlines,” said Iglesias. “Then by the members’ negligence everything starts [becoming] difficult and the person that really saves the club’s mess is Dr. Philip.”
Iglesias said it’s difficult to get new members because of the stigma of the term “international student” which has affected participation.
“We try to include everyone whether their mom or dad was international and they were born here, but they hear ‘international’ and they’re like, “What? No I’m not an international student” and get really offended.” said Iglesias.
With the constant stress of planning and the other contributing factors of reluctant participation Philip decided he would step back from it this year.
“Last year we held [Taste the Nations] in Boone and me and one or two other students stayed to clean up,” said Philip. “We will be back next year though.”
Iglesias and Philip have potential plans to help improve the event for the upcoming years
“I would like to do a thematic concept for the dishes just focusing on something specific so then students will be like, ‘Oh what will they do next year?’ ” said Iglesias.
Philip said he wants to incorporate surrounding schools to join together to help put on the event.
“I’ve been trying for the last five years to reach out to other clubs on other campuses,” said Philip. “So far I’ve gotten Lipscomb and they come and perform every year with us.”
Philip said the event will now occur every other year to allow for more planning and time to gain more support.
“[Taste the Nations] will do better falling every other year like ‘20, ‘22, ‘24 et cetera,” said Philip. “It will also be good for the university to help fund it more and realize it’s a great recruitment opportunity to reach people for continuing studies or the graduate program .”