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Samia K. '23 – Cultural Food Fest

The inspiration: I knew I wanted my project to be centered around an outlet for mental health. Readjusting to being in person [after the height of the pandemic] inspired me to want to get people together. I felt we were all craving interaction but were hesitant, and rightfully so. We needed a way to ease into a sense of camaraderie and school spirit. What better way than a food fest! Who doesn’t love food? During the pandemic, people spent a lot of time enjoying their favorite food and perfecting new recipes. I’ve always enjoyed sharing and learning about other cultures, and I wanted folks to share their experiences, whether something from their culture or neighborhood, or inspired by a memory. I hoped to share food that came with a story and brought everyone together to interact in a supportive setting. From this, the idea evolved into a cultural food fest. This was also something I had not heard of at Calhoun before, so the positive impact it may have on the community was definitely a plus.

The process: Planning was key. It was the first time I had done something like this, so it took some time to perfect each step. I wanted to make sure the project was thorough so everyone walked away with a good understanding of food from various cultures while embracing and strengthening the strong Calhoun community. Junior Workshop was an intense, but extremely rewarding project. With the support of my advisor, I learned to take time to adjust each detail accordingly. I was able to take something I truly love and turn it into an engaging and interactive activity for others to share a similar passion as me. It became an event full of joy, laughter and pure excitement.

What I learned: There is so much that I was able to take away from this experience. I stepped out of my comfort zone to work with administration on logistics and to encourage people to participate. I realized the importance of being patient and organized while making sure important milestones were met and kept in focus. Lastly, this was a really great reminder that everyone can make an impact, and collectively we can do even more.

What's next: I would love for this to become a regular event at Calhoun. The feedback I received was so positive, and this event really brought the community together in a new way, which would be great to see happen again and again.