By Kayla Williamson
Taste the Nations is returning this year on April 17 at 6:30pm in the Boone Convocation Center.
Namaste, an international group at Trevecca, is once again hosting Taste the Nations. It was cancelled last year due to scheduling conflicts, lack of performances, and issues with food.
“Taste the Nations is an event that we do, simply to give Trevecca students a taste of culture,” said Roy Philip, associate professor of Marketing and faculty sponsor of Namaste. “It just didn’t click last year, so we decided to take a break.”
This year, the club has decided to change things up with new rules surrounding performances as well as a two dollar entry fee.
“The two dollars goes to our emergency fund,” Philip said. “We have a fund where we give international students who have to make phone calls back home or have to buy groceries when the school is closed.”
Namaste has been helping international students for years, according to Philip.
“We started this club fifteen years ago and it was called International Students Association of Trevecca (ISAT), but a few years ago we changed it to Namaste because the word international did not click with a lot of students, especially those who grew up in America,” he said.
Samual Iglesias, president of Namaste, said he noticed the aversion but thinks the event can help humanize people.
“There is almost a hesitation to recognize yourself as international. Even I go through that,” he said. “You will have an actual glimpse of other cultures, because with cultures we don’t mean pictures and information, we’re talking about people. Individuals. So you can meet us, you can see what we share about our cultures from our own personal experience. I think [Taste the Nations] is more relevant than reading about a culture in a museum.”
Andrea Constanza Fuentes, Trevecca sophomore and nursing major, is the secretary of Namaste and has been a part of the club since her freshman year. She said planning has been stressful, but she is looking forward to the event.
“Right now, we already have who is going to participate and what they are going to do,” she said. “Now we are just looking forward to setting up.”
According to Philip, some of the things students can look forward to are food, dances, songs, skits and multilingual scripture. In past years students heard one verse of scripture in 25 different languages, and they sang Amazing Grace in four different languages.
The club invited other groups to participate including Futuro, OCCM, former members of Namaste, and non-traditional students.
“We also get Masters and PhD students who are not in the day to day regular workings of the university,” Philip said. “People don’t see them, but they are also from different cultures, so we invite them.”
Philip said that students should come for the performances and not just for the food.
“Students were coming and taking all the food and then leaving, and I felt bad for those that were really staying,” he said.
Fuentes echoed Philip.
“Be willing to not only get the food, but be willing to enjoy the performances and enjoy learning about other cultures,” she said.
Students can still sign up to perform at the event by contacting Philip through his email. There will be a rehearsal April 15 to make sure dances and performances are Trevecca appropriate.
According to Philip, students should attend the event to “Support international students on campus by paying two dollars and giving them some sort of emergency fund, but also to support culture.”