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Taste of OSU to bring international cuisine and cultural performances with a competitive edge

A customer approaches the food table ofthe Chinese American Student Association and Chinese Student and Scholar Society from a past Taste of OSU. Credit: Lantern File Photo

Hungry students can rejoice Friday at the annual Taste of OSU event, featuring international cuisine provided by more than 30 different ethnic and cultural student organizations.

Sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, Taste of OSU highlights the diversity and various cultures on campus through a night of cultural exhibits, exciting performances and food from all around the world.

As a signature event that is free and open to the public, Taste of OSU attracts thousands of attendees from students to faculty to Columbus locals.

“I want people to come with curiosity, questions and that eagerness to learn about different cultures,” said Kidest Beyene, student chair of Taste of OSU and fourth-year in public affairs and African and African-American studies. “I especially want people to come out and experience an event that they’ve never experienced and get to see the diversity on campus.”

Taste of OSU serves as an opportunity for student organizations to market themselves to other students. Those wishing to participate as vendors or performers had to endure an extensive application process for a spot at one of the Ohio Union’s largest events.

Beyene said a lot of new student organizations applied to be in the event this year, and the group had to be selective as to which ones to include “because we didn’t want to be redundant.”

“It was really cool going through all the applications and looking at the new applicants and the new international countries that would be represented this year,” Beyene said.

Participating student organizations have the opportunity to win prizes for categories, such as best food, best cultural display and best performances.

Anthony Rizkala, president of the Lebanese Student Organization and fifth-year in neuroscience, expressed his excitement for the event and hopes to win first place for best food.

“We’re gonna make something called shish tawook, which is like a chicken kabob and something else called knafeh, which is like a Lebanese cheesecake dessert,” Rizkala said. “Last year, we won third place for food, so we’re hoping to get first this year.”

Spread out in the Great Hall of Ohio Union, attendees and passers-by can watch 24 different performances by student organizations, ranging from the Chinese Folk Music Orchestra to the Irish Dance Team.

“I want people to not be afraid and think that Taste of OSU is only for people who have knowledge about international cultures. That’s not the case,” Beyene said. “It’s an event that’s designed to allow students to experience parts of other people’s diversity and cultures.”

Taste of OSU is from 5-9 p.m. Friday with free admission. Food tickets are available for purchase in the Ohio Union for $1 each.


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