A Taste of the World brings diversity to KSU campus

A Taste of the World brings diversity to KSU campus
Scott Daniels

Dr. Adrian Jones, professor of sociology at the campus, headed up the planning for A Taste of the World this year.


Students at Kent State University Tuscarawas found themselves immersed in cuisines from around the globe as they grabbed some lunch on Wednesday, April 10 for A Taste of the World in the cafeteria at Founder’s Hall on campus.

The event is actually in its 17th year and began as the idea of then music professor Dr. Milagros Quesada, who oversaw A Taste of the World until her retirement several years ago.

“It has been in the last five years or so that it has really taken off and become popular,” assistant dean and professor of physics Dr. Stephen Minnick said.

Dean Dr. Bradley Bielski said A Taste of the World is very much a faculty-led function at the university. “It’s something the faculty does for the students. The kitchen staff may get involved a little, but it really is something the faculty puts together.”

The lunch event is presented by the KSU Tuscarawas diversity advisory committee, which seeks to encourage a diverse campus population.

As the line of students snaked far back into Founder’s Hall, Bielski said the numerous cuisines at the serving tables represented a diverse campus, from students to faculty. “We have professors from Turkey, India, China, indeed, from all over the world. They’re able to share some of their cultural heritage and food traditions with the campus.”

Dr. Adrian Jones, professor of sociology at the campus, found himself heading up planning for A Taste of the World this year. “Fortunately information I got ahead of time was correct. This pretty much runs itself.”

While some of the dishes offered for A Taste of the World were from restaurants serving ethnic specialties from around the area, many were prepared by faculty at home and brought to the event. “Our mainstays are Chinese and Mexican dishes,” Jones said. “But there’s a lot of variety here.”

Highlights included empanadas from the Puerto Rican cuisine restaurant, The Caribbean in New Philadelphia; various Indian dishes from Bombay Sitar in Canton; Greek sweet treats from Downtown Bakery of Steubenville and by Sandra and Dan Fuller; German kraut and kielbasa by Nicole Willey; Sri Lankan spiced potatoes provided by Roshinee Perera; speculoos from Belgium by Michael Dunbar; and a Samoan dish by Kingsly Berlin.

Mexican and Chinese samplings were provided by El San Jose and Empire China Buffet, respectively, both at New Philadelphia.

“The challenge is to get everyone a chance to sample what they want during the lunch break,” Jones said.

The event was scheduled from noon to 1 p.m., and many of the students had classes at 12:50 p.m. The line to be served, Bielski said, indicated “about a half-hour or more wait.”

Jones said the diversity advisory committee works through the year to promote a diverse campus culture. “We sponsor several events during the year with special screenings of films, guest speakers and things like a Taste of the World, which is the premier thing we do each year. We also host information sessions on studying abroad.”

According to the KSU Tuscarawas website, the diversity advisory committee “supports university-wide goals related to diversity by coordinating various diversity initiatives on campus. The committee focuses on the implementation of diversity across the curriculum and planning and implementing diversity-oriented events.”

Jones said A Taste of the World and other diversity advisory committee projects are funded with a small budget from the university. The students received samplings of any dish they wanted without charge.

“Today is also a good way to break down any barriers a student might feel between themselves and faculty members,” Bielski said. “If a student is feeling shy or reluctant to approach a professor, this can help bridge that gap. It’s a great event for everyone concerned.”

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