The world came to OU at International Night

Student Congress held their International Night event the night of April 1.

It was at 6 p.m. in the OC. As it was the Globe Edition, attendees could experience many aspects of different cultures around the world.

Student Congress worked with the Center for Student Activities, Student Program Board, WXOU and numerous other organizations on campus, including the Japan Club, British at Heart, the Disabilities Committee and the International Allies Organization.

Students first picked up their “official passport” and then traveled to different continents of the world set up in various rooms. They collected signatures at each stop, and upon visiting them all, earned prizes such as lanyards and T-shirts at the end of the night.

Each room was full of food and activities from that part of the world, as well as displays.

Arriving in Asia, students could feast on a spread of food, from ramen and sweet-and-sour chicken to hummus and tabbouleh. One could also get a henna tattoo drawn by one of the artists. Called Mehndi in Hindi and Urdu, the tradition of henna tattoos has been practiced for over 5,000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East, according to Silk & Stone. They use a paste made from the leaves of the henna plant that temporarily dyes the skin with intricate designs, according to The Huffington Post.

The European room had traditional food like spanakopita, a flaky spinach pie that originates in Greece, according to Wise Geek. At the Ukrainian table, ceramic pots were set up to paint, as that was a popular activity in a certain era of their history.

Another stop was the Americas, filled with lively music and foods like enchiladas, churros and horchata, a traditional Mexican beverage made with rice, cinnamon and sugar, according to

Jordan Sly, a senior biology major, feels events like this are incredibly important for Oakland.

“OU is very diverse. It’s important for [different cultures] to show their pride and keep their heritage in the U.S.,” he said. “Sometimes the clubs don’t get enough attention, so this way people are more aware and can join.”

Keyarra Jackson, a senior majoring in social work, manned the Spanish Club table. She’s always loved the Spanish culture, and has been a part of the group for about a year.

“It’s great to let students know about the different organizations we have on campus. These clubs are great because there’s something for everybody,” she said.

The evening wasn’t complete without some dancing.First, the Albanian dance team, dressed in traditional clothing, gave the audience a sliver of their culture. They then opened it up to the whole crowd and everyone joined hands and danced.

The event came to a close with the Nachale dance team’s high-energy Indian dance. It was fast and had flair, with glittering gold tops and jingling belts.

Rachel McKinney, a senior Spanish major, has always been around different cultures, living in Spain for a while and growing up with a best friend from Bangladesh.

“I love looking at the world from these different points of view, getting to see their traditions,” she said.

Oakland University Student Congress Diversity and Inclusion Director Anders Engnell, a sophomore double majoring in creative writing and mathematics, helped put on the night.

Engnell thinks these events are important for two reasons.

“First, the cultural experiences. It’s critical for students to learn how other cultures live and thrive. It sparks creativity and helps us accomplish the second goal, which is unity – bringing groups and individuals together so that as a united whole we can do great things,” he said.