International students to contribute to annual Amazing Taste

Freshman Savannah Hecht is having her British fish and chips at the Amazing Taste on 14th October 2010. The event showcases food from about 25 countries and other cultural items.

Freshman Savannah Hecht is having her British fish and chips at the Amazing Taste on 14th October 2010. The event showcases food from about 25 countries and other cultural items. DN FILE PHOTO Thomas Yau

Belly dancers, Scottish bagpipers and exotic animals will roam the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, transforming the building into an international festival.

The Amazing Taste will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today.

Hanna Murphy, graduate assistant at the Rinker Center for International Programs, is one of four graduate students participating with this event.

“[The Amazing Taste] is just meant to bring people together,” Murphy said. “It’s a proactive way our university is making us aware of what is going on around the world, with people from other parts of the world.”

Murphy said the event includes participation from 70 to 100 international students. These students will help educate visitors on the various countries.

The activities, entertainment and displays at the event are free. Bagpipes with the Scottish Society of Indianapolis, belly dancers and salsa dancers will perform. The event will have an exotic animal show from Amazon John, a global fashion show and live music from the bluegrass band Peach Pickers and the salsa band Combo Adobo.

“[The Amazing Taste] will be a great way for students to come and ask questions about different countries and learn about other cultures on a personal basis,” Murphy said.

The menu for the event will contain popular dishes from more than 20 countries. The Amazing Taste will offer the popular Indian and sushi dishes from last year. Murphy said more than 1,500 people attended the event last year and this year, they will cap the food portion at 1,500 people.

Each floor of the Student Center will represent a different region, which is how the event will divide the food.

Food from different countries will represent its region. Some food will be beef empanadas from the Americas, lobster asparagus risotto from Europe, kalbi from Asia, and baklava from Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia. The menu also includes some vegetarian and vegan options.

The Tally in the Student Center will close at 1:30 p.m. but Starbucks will remain available. The price for students at the event is the same as the meal plan of $7.75, and students can receive a wristband before the event by asking the cashier use the dinner meal. People can use cash, Dining Plus, Cardinal Cash and credit cards as well for tickets.

Prices differ for guests. Tickets are free for ages 2 and younger, $5 for ages 3-12 and $8 for ages 13 and older.

Murphy said the students working on the event have put in a lot of effort to represent their countries. She also said the event is open to the entire community to participate and learn. “I like that there is food because food just brings [people] together in general,” she said.

Suzanne Clem, marketing coordinator for Dining Services, said The Amazing Taste is family-friendly and affordable.

“It is an experience we don’t get every day in Muncie, and we’re trying to make it really affordable so that lots of people can take advantage of it because we don’t want it to be cost prohibited for anyone,” Clem said.

“It’s a great sampling of culture that we don’t get every day.”

She said the event is possible because of the collaboration of dining, Housing and Residence Life, the Multicultural Center, the Rinker Center for International Programs and University Program Board. Clem also said close to 100 Ball State students will help and volunteer with the event.

“[The event] is a neat molding of community and campus, and [it is] just a really fun time,” Clem said.

Patricia Lovett, Multicultural Center director, said the event is a good place to meet students from different countries. She said many people do not realize how much the international community impacts the campus.

“I hope [the event] will pique [student’s] curiosity to make them want to visit another country, study abroad or reach out beyond the Ball State campus and learn about what is really going on globally around the world,” Lovett said.