Students and staff members of varying nationalities filed into the Student Center on Wednesday evening for the International Student Organization’s annual International Peace Dinner. The line started on the third floor of the Student Center, went down the stairwell and ended at the bottom of the first floor when the doors opened.
Four tables filled with food from 13 different cultural and national student organizations waited for the long line of attendees. Student organizations that represent Africa, Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, Italy, Turkey and Vietnam as well as the Latin American Association, Muslim Student Association and Spanish Club all offered dishes of their choice.
Attendees started at one side of the floor to fill their plates up with food ranging from orange chicken from China to gulab jamun from India. Then, they carried their full, heavy plates to the other side of the floor to sit in the Student Center ballroom.
People of different cultures sat with people they have never met and exchanged their stories and backgrounds. So many attendees were there that groups of people sat on the ground in the ballroom, even though multiple tables were lined up filled with seats.
Sumaiya Islam, president of ISO, was thrilled with the turnout. She said that in under an hour, they had fed about 900 people, and more people were still streaming in as she spoke.
“This is what we do, this is what ISO is for,” Islam said. “We want to bring people of different nationalities together peacefully to meet each other. We are bringing together people from different backgrounds, different cultures to meet and learn about each other. Look, there are people from different countries and cultures sitting, meeting and talking.”
Islam said the International Peace Dinner is ISO’s biggest event of the year, and the 13 country-based organizations worked hard over the past three days to bring it all together.
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“I came to this event to make more friends and see different cultures," said Shifan Li, freshman from southern China.
Li said her friends at Auburn invited her to come, and she walked around to meet more people of different cultures.
A mix of domestic students and international students sat together as a group on the ground, eating their food and sharing a bit about themselves with the people they sat with.
“I came last year, and I really enjoyed it, so I came again this year,” said Savannah Witt, a student studying industrial design. “I think it’s really fun to meet people from different countries. It’s really cool to see lots of people sitting and talking to people they don’t know when you walk in at first.”
The students from this group all agreed that they loved the food that was offered this year, especially the basbousa cake that was offered at the end of the line.
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