The International Festival has been a recurring tradition during my time at Eastern, and one that many students have enjoyed. This year, the festival took place on Saturday, March 12, from 3pm to 6pm. Originally, it was supposed to be held in the Walton area of campus, but it was moved to Gough Great Room because of the snow and the power outage.
While moving the event so close to the intended start time made it a bit harder for the Student Activities Board (SAB) to set up, SAB members and students alike agreed that it improved the International Festival. Jennie Brouse, a member of SAB, remarked that because more people live in Gough, “they would walk past and see it and come in.”
Anna Davis, a student who attended the event, said, “I was still planning on going no matter what; I personally live closer [to Gough] but I know that Walton is closer to some people. I think more people would have come if it were a sunny day outside in Walton, but Gough lends itself well to that kind of event. Personally, I think Gough is a really great place to hold things. I remember that I used it a couple times when I was running something and it really lends itself to being a performance or social space, which is really necessary for something like an SAB event.”
The power outage in Walton may have improved the attendance of the event; SAB had provided catering of “soul food and comfort food,” as Colton Domblesky described it: “Jerk chicken, few types of rice, beef pies, a couple desserts and different drinks.” He added, “We had catered food that was warm and ready to eat” and he considered that one of the deciding factors in the “bigger turnout,” along with the relaxed measures concerning masks and COVID restrictions.
While many people came for the food, Domblesky shared that they “stayed for the performances.” There was a selection of performances, both student and professional. Brouse “liked the belly dancer” and said that it “was not an experience I thought I was going to have” but added that it was “really really cool.” The Nubian dancers were also a hit with both Domblesky and Davis; Domblesky referred to them as “my personal favorite” performance and Davis said that she “really liked the style of dancing that they did and they all seemed to be really devoted to it.”
When asked what they would change next year, Brouse and Domblesky had a handful of thoughts. Brouse said that she’d prefer to host the event in Gough Great Room again because she found it to work really well for that kind of event. Domblesky said he would “definitely advertise more. That’s always a downfall on this campus because of restrictions on where and how to post. I’d also think of ways to better reach out to the student body and provide incentive for people to attend.”