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International Potluck at Renaissance College: UNBSU Multicultural Initiative

Members of the UNB and STU communities attended a potluck at Renaissance College on Saturday, Nov. 4. The UNB Student Union offered students the option to bring cooked food or share the Renaissance College’s kitchen facilities to cook at the event.

The Renaissance College’s setting created a good atmosphere for the attendees. As promised, students were offered delicious exotic food, which they enjoyed over chats and while watching the Vietnamese movie “Nang.”

The potluck started off as an idea for a project management course that Duc Le, a Vietnamese student majoring in Leadership Studies, had envisioned for his submission.

“I want to introduce different international cultures and cuisines to UNB students—and we also want to promote the diversity of ethnicities on the campus,” said Duc, who is also a member of the UNBSU Multicultural Initiative Team.

The Multicultural Initiative Team is a new version of a Student Union program previously called “Cultural Café,” which caters to international students.

UNBSU president Herbert Bempah said that the focus of the Multicultural Initiative Team is twofold: firstly, to bridge the gap between international and Canadian students; secondly, it aims to create a sense of community among international students.

“The whole point is to understand that our difference is really what makes us stronger together,” said Bempah.

The event had over 25 attendees and most students stayed until the end.

Quyen Truong, a Vietnamese student who was part of the organizing team, prepared a few traditional Vietnamese dishes for the potluck, such as spring rolls and Bánh Xèo.

“The event started as an effort to connect Vietnamese and Canadian students, which was further developed in an international event to include every student,” Truong said.

The movie “Nang” was played at the event. “Nang” depicts the relationship between a mother with Down Syndrome and her daughter in a Vietnamese community. The movie also showed glimpses of Vietnamese culture and real locations.

Ishita Senesi, an Italian/Bangladeshi student at UNB, heard about the potluck through word of mouth and said she is always interested to meet more international students.

“Right now I just feel at home being in a place with so many international students,” said Senesi.

The event was concluded by a trivia session. The winning team was awarded gift cards to Sobeys.

Photos by Vu Pham.

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