A taste of international flavor

The U International Student Council celebrated its biggest event of the year with food, dance and song.

More than 20 countries were represented Friday night in the Union in an effort to bring people together and raise money for tsunami relief. International Night happens once a year at the U and is a collaboration of people from countries all over the world, including India, China, Jamaica and Bosnia.

“The ethnic diversity here is quite exciting, said Venugopal Ghataikar, a graduate student from India. “Events like this show people our country.”

Ghataikar said he enjoyed the belly dancing and the Jamaican Capoeira dancing, but he added that he wished more Americans were there to see the festivities.

Aniruddha Lapalikar, an ASUU senator from the College of Engineering, agreed.

“It’s sad to see that people don’t come in full force to help this cause…International Night is for everyone, not just people from other countries,” Lapalikar said. “These types of events help people unite-not to mention help people who were hurt by the tsunami.”

Among the various events the ISC has helped put together-such as the Ute football kickoff, a blood-drive and the International Film festival-American participation has been “OK,” but “it’s high-time people recognize the international community at the U,” Ghataikar said.

Despite the mediocre turnout, the ISC has gathered $1,500 to date with help from campus entities and private donations, according to Ramanan Ganeshananthan, president of the council. The ISC will pass that sum on to the Red Cross as part of the tsunami relief effort.

“Our country [India] was one of the hardest hit, so I really appreciate everyone’s effort,” he said.

This year, ASUU allocated $3,000 to the ISC for International Night. Organizers rallied additional support on their own.

“We raised over $2,000 more in additional funding from private sponsorship of our event, and we got financial help with the food costs from the International Center as well as a donation from Chartwells,” Ganeshananthan said.

“We were lucky because most of the performers entertained free of charge to help the disaster relief fund,” Ganeshananthan added.

International Night also included a silent auction of goods and crafts that brought in about $325. In addition, because most performers were free, ISC was able to save part of the money from the private donations, which will also go toward the relief fund.

Anyone who wishes to get involved with U international activities should contact the ISC or visit the office in the Union.

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