SGA, Bama Dining bring international cuisine to students

The Student Government Association and Bama Dining are teaming up to bring international dining experiences to UA students, Taylor Bollinger, SGA assistant director of diversity, said.

The first of four events will be held Thursday at Lakeside Dining Hall and will have an Australian theme, said Kelsey Faust, marketing manager of Bama Dining.

"The cultural dining experience will feature at least four different dishes and decorations," Faust said.

Bollinger said the objective of the event is to give UA students the opportunity to explore and try different cultural foods once a month.

"We thought it was a cool idea to let incoming students do something cool and try real, authentic foods that they haven't had before," Bollinger said.

The diversity division of SGA student affairs looked at hundreds of menu items that would be unique and reasonably priced and offered their suggestions to Bama Dining, he said.

Through the initiative, Bollinger said, the SGA wants to spread awareness of cultural foods and promote diversity through the student body, show appreciation and acceptance of different cultures and appreciate globalization of the world.

Bollinger said he hopes the many international students at the University will enjoy the international dining experience.

"Even though it may not be their home food," he said, "they can see that we appreciate diversity here at the University.

Danny Shannahan, a freshman majoring in engineering, said he eats at Lakeside when he needs an easy in-and-out kind of meal and saw the signs for the Australia-themed meal.

"I think it's a pretty cool idea," he said. "Lakeside can be pretty bland sometimes, and it's nice to change things up."

Shannahan said he doesn't know if the end results of the dining experience will promote diversity.

"For the most part, I just know people like that kind of food," he said.

Mallory Smith, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, said the event sounds like a good idea, but she hasn't seen it advertised on campus.

The event probably won't promote diversity, she said, but it's a good try.

The cultural dining events will continue every third Thursday throughout the semester with a Korean-themed meal in February, Brazilian in March and Greek in April, Bollinger said.

"We hope to continue the international dining experience next year, too," he said. "If people enjoy it, we'd like to make it happen every couple of weeks"

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