Jaida Luck | Staff Writer |

Students lined up inside Tarrant to try different foods from all over the world and experienced a variety of performances at this year’s International Festival hosted by the Diversity Coalition on April 23 from 3-8 p.m. 

The International Festival typically occurs every year. However, this was the first time the festival was held since 2019 due to COVID-19. As a result, this year’s event was downsized. Approximately 50 students attended.  There were fewer performances, and less people volunteered to cook. 

“People aren’t as willing to cook and share food,” said Hazel Kieu ’22, vice president  of the Diversity Coalition. 

The Diversity Coalition is a club on campus that operates under the Center of Multicultural Affairs and Services (CMAS). They aim to educate and promote awareness of issues involving ethnicity, race, gender and religion. 

“We have a lot of diversity on campus that is not often seen, so we try to fill that gap by putting on events like the International Festival,” Kieu said. The mission of the club is to promote, learn about and celebrate different cultures. Diversity Coalition also plans events like  Afro-Caribbean Night and Latin Night during the fall

Many people showed up to taste food from different cultures they may not be exposed to. 

“It’s a good opportunity for our students of color because it’s the one chance we get to eat food that we are familiar with and remind us of home,” Kieu explained. The event included food from multiple restaurants and caterers including: Sarom’s Cafe (Vietnamese), Kismayo Kitchen (Somalian), Red Panda (Nepalese, Indian and Indo-Chinese), Ahli Baba’s (Mediterranean), and much more. 

A2VT performed a 45-minute set at the festival. They are a music group that blends their native African musical and dance roots with Western pop and Hip Hop sensibilities, according to their website. Students Olivier Niyonshuti ‘25 and Juana Lopez ‘22 also performed at the festival.

 Diversity Coalition faced many hurdles due to  COVID-19, but they still considered the event a success. 

“People still showed up because they remembered what International Festival used to look like,” Kieu said. 

To learn more about Diversity Coalition or join the club, email or follow them on Instagram at @smcvt.dc