International Night showcases WKU students’ many cultures

Freshman Charlotte Brindley stops by the Saudi Arabia table to get a henna tattoo at the International Festival held at Downing University Center on Thursday. 

Taylor Harrison

International Night 2012 brought many different cultures together in one place Thursday night — Downing University Center.

The cultural expo was held in the DUC lobby, beginning at 5:30 p.m. It gave student groups with an international aspect a chance to show students what they do.

The Office of International Programs, one of the night’s sponsors, had a table set up.

Edmonton freshman Tori Hampton, a student worker, was working the booth, giving out cup holders, door hangers and markers. The other sponsors of the night were DUC, the Student Government Association and International Student and Scholar Services.

“Basically, we do a night every year called the International Night and we have different student organizations that are affiliated with international programs and they set up booths showing their culture,” Hampton said.

The Saudi Club had a booth set up, offering multiple Saudi Arabian-oriented experiences for students, such as sampling Arabic coffee, a chance to have their name written in Arabic and henna tattoos. They also showed a video about Saudi Arabia. Members of the group were dressed in traditional clothing and there was also a musical performance.

Saudi Arabia graduate student Faisal Alzomily, Saudi Club president, said the club has about 200 Saudi students. The club had multiple posters and pamphlets regarding different topics on Saudi Arabia.

Another club on hand at the expo was the Japanese Culture Club. The club had informational books about the history and culture of Japan, Japanese flags, Japanese coins and origami paper cranes, among other items.  

Laura Huff, a Monroe County graduate student, started the Japanese Club about three years ago and has studied Japanese culture for five years.

“Several years ago, one of my friends introduced me to Japanese television dramas and I started watching those. From that, I just became more and more interested in Japanese culture,” Huff said.

Other organizations that had booths included the Arabic Club, Chinese Student and Scholar Association, International Club, The Korean Club and Students in Free Enterprise, who were selling baskets for their Kenya Basket Project.  

International Night also featured a concert at 7 p.m. performed by the Brazilian swing band Trio Ginga in the DUC auditorium. The band came in from Nashville to perform.

Trio Ginga was introduced by Trinity Gonzalez, DUC evening program coordinator, who said the band would play “Brazilian swing that will stir your soul.”

The opening performance started off with the band playing sounds to make the audience feel that they were in the rainforest — water trickling, birds chirping and other animal sounds. The instrumental music then continued on into a relaxing swing style, which flowed into a lively beat.

For the followings songs, the band’s featured singer, Kenya Evelyn, who was born and raised in Brazil, sang in Portuguese. She also encouraged the crowd to have a good time and dance and clap along with the music.