Globalpalooza gives students a crash course in culture

Globalpalooza, a multicultural and multi-organization event sponsored by the College Union Board (CUB), filled Brower Student Center with food, games and performers from around the world on Saturday.

The event, the first of its kind, featured 31 College organizations working in teams to represent 15 countries.

Filling both the atrium and the food court of the student center, each country was set up at its own table where students were introduced to different cultures. Some participating students dressed in the cultural garb of their respective countries, adding to the atmosphere.

In the food court, a row of tables was set up for buffet-style eating with offerings from every country represented. While some organizations’ members prepared the food, others took their allotted monies and brought in catered fare.

Both Greek and non-Greek organizations took part and were paired together randomly. “The whole point was unity. (It was about) bringing organizations together and bringing countries together,” Katerina Gkionis, CUB event coordinator, said.

Globalpalooza also featured multicultural performances including a belly dancer, a sword demonstration, Greek folk dancing and Irish step dancing. There were also mimes wandering the atrium, interacting with students. While some performers were students from the College (including Gospel Choir Ministries and the Japanese Club), others were brought in for the event.

The organizations picked their respective countries from a list and were required to provide decorations, an interactive game or event, and enough food to feed 300 people. For example, Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, the College Republicans and the Classics Club, which represented Italy, set up a game of bocce ball outside of the student center. Other activities included Chinese calligraphy (Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and the Asian American Association) and henna tattoos (Sigma Pi Fraternity and the Indian Student Association).

Gkionis first pitched the idea to CUB in December. This semester she partnered with event coordinator Annie Raczko. “It was hard at first to get the idea off the ground,” Gkionis said.

The turnout for the event was larger than anticipated, Gkionis said: “When I saw that buffet line, I was shocked.” She and CUB expected around 300 attendees but she estimated the actual attendance was between 400 and 500 people.

Globalpalooza is being planned for next year based on the success of the event. Next year Gkionis said she hopes to get more organizations involved, plus vendors and involvement from the Ewing community.

“This is what I think we really need at (the College),” Gkionis said. “We all need to come together.”