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Cultural organizations host inaugural Pangea Potluck

Faith Zhang / Thresher

By Prasi Desai     11/28/23 11:24pm

Nine student cultural organizations hosted the first Pangea Potluck at the Rice Memorial Center Nov. 15. Clubs shared food, organized activities and participated in a passport program where students could collect a stamp from each organization in exchange for a prize in the Grand Hall. Participating groups included the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice, the Vietnamese Student Organization and the Black Student Association, among others.

Vice president of HACER Pamela Duarte organized the event over the last month. Duarte said she created the potluck because she believes food is the best way to connect different cultures.

“I thought it would be really cool to do a cross-cultural event,” Duarte, a junior at Will Rice College, said. 

Duarte said she initially had low expectations for attendance due to the potluck being a new event. However, attendance records showed that approximately 250 individuals attended. 

Vy Luu, the internal vice president of VSA, said she created advertisement flyers and designed the passport activity and the associated prize. According to Luu, the event was unique as it brought together different cultural clubs. 

“There have been a lot of free food events, but these events didn’t include different clubs from different cultural backgrounds,” Luu, a Hanszen College junior, said.

Isabella Bourtin, president of the recently revived Rice Native American Student Association, said the event was an opportunity for students to experience cultures outside of their own.

“Doing this shows us united together as different cultures trying to raise awareness about every single one of us,” Bourtin, a sophomore at McMurtry College, said. 

Bourtin also said the event offered new clubs like RNASA an opportunity to gain publicity and attract new members.

Vice president of BSA Jaden Hernandez-Romious helped coordinate the BSA booth and secure funding for the potluck. She said the event was a great way for students to share their culture and hopes that even more clubs will be included in coming years. 

“It’s a big deal for Rice and our student culture to have events like this where we can interact with each other and share cultural food,” Hernandez-Romious, a McMurtry junior, said.

Mariam Khan, a Wiess College sophomore who attended the event, said the event was unique and allowed students to simultaneously feel at home and explore other cultures through food. She also said the event was a good way for smaller clubs to gain publicity and for students to discover different opportunities. 

“It’s an ingenious way to have an enormous amount of the Rice population come together,” Khan said.

In the future, Khan said she hopes more student organizations will be present such as the South Asian Society or the Rice Middle Eastern and North African Student Association. 

Duarte said she hopes the potluck grows further in coming years and evolves into a cultural showcase with more activities.

“I really do hope it gets bigger and better,” Duarte said.

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