Unity Day showcases food, music, culture of 26 countries

Unity Day brought various cultures found in Indiana University of Pennsylvania's student demographics together to share food, music and fashion April 5. (Sarah Bader/ The Penn)

International students from 26 different countries shared food, music, fashion and other aspects of their culture with the Indiana community at International Unity Day Saturday.

Each country represented at Unity Day, which was free and open to all Indiana University of Pennsylvania students and members of the Indiana community, had a booth set up in the Hadley Union Building Upper Level from noon to 3 p.m.

Booths from 11 countries such as Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Malaysia, the United States and Libya, were located in the main lobby of the HUB, and booths from nine countries including Germany, Niger, Cyprus and Ethiopia were in the Monongahela Room. The Susquehanna Room housed six booths for countries including Japan, China, Angola and Nigeria.

Zimbabwe, Turkey, the Netherlands, Ghana, Korea, Armenia, Taiwan, Mali, Mongolia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and the Philippines were also represented by booths at the event.

Unity Day is important because it allows people in the community the opportunity to see how other cultures eat, dress and speak, said President of the Saudi Student Association Ali Almohaimeed (senior, finance and legal studies).

“It opens your mind to the lifestyles of other cultures and lets you know that what you read in the newspapers might not be true,” he said.

The Saudi Arabian booth featured dishes including chicken kabsa (rice with meat), al-roaz al-Zirbeyan (Zirbeyan rice) and Saudi samboosak (meat pie), while the United States booth featured corn dogs, popcorn, popsicles and pie.

“There are so many different types of students at IUP,” said graduate student Anna Moronski (student affairs in higher education). “It’s good to bring the community together to show how diverse we are.”

Dishes featured at the Cyprus booth included Greek salad, stuffed grape leaves and walnut pie, according to Maria Alexandrou (junior, theater and dance), a student originally from Limassol, Cyprus.

“It is important to experience different cultures,” said Alec Baroni (sophomore, communications media), one of the IUP students who attended Unity Day. “This event allows IUP to understand and explore the world and all of its cultures.”

Cultural demonstrations such as dance, karate, music, tae kwon do and a fashion show showcasing the traditional clothing of several countries were also included in the Unity Day festivities, according to the International Unity Day page of the IUP website.

“A lot of Americans are ethnocentric,” German student Hanna Andrussier (freshman, management) said. “It’s good to show them that there are other countries other than America.”