Feb 05, 2013

Williamson County Campus Celebrates Diversity

Students Eat, Dance and Have Fun at "We Are The World Day"

According to Williamson County Campus Coordinator of Student Services Nancy Bass, "the amount people from different cultural backgrounds and folks who have moved from different countries to make Middle Tennessee - and Columbia State - their home, is absolutely overwhelming, and something that needs to be celebrated."

And on Tuesday, February 24, that's exactly what students, faculty and staff at the Williamson County Campus of Columbia State did.

A plethora of international dishes highlighted the event, with everything from Hispanic beans and rice, to Puerto Rican pork, Irish soda bread, Indian Tandoori chicken, rice and naan, Italian ravioli and pasta, southern fried chicken, British "rock cakes," Swiss chocolate, and a special favorite called pumpkin sandwiches.

But the participants weren't just hungry for the wonderful food - they also enjoyed entertainment from a local gospel artist, as well as salsa dance lessons from instructors, and of course, good ole' fashioned conversation.

"Nothing brings people together like good food and entertainment," said John Hampton, a second year general transfer student from Arrington, TN who plans on using general transfer credits from Columbia State to attend culinary school one day. "So getting to taste all of these wonderful ethnic foods is right up my alley," he said with a smile.

Zarmina Folad, a Franklin resident originally from Afghanistan, is studying to become a dental hygienist and plans to transfer to Tennessee State after this semester. She was happy to contribute one of her favorite dishes - baklava - to this occasion, but not as happy as she was to share the news that she had made the dean's list this past fall, all while raising her four-and-a-half year old daughter.

Roopa Chandrika Gopalakrishnan, a freshman nursing student and Franklin resident with a family including 18 and 22 year old sons, and full-time job at the local Walgreen's Pharmacy, contributed several dishes from her native India, and donned a traditional sari, along with nursing classmate Nislin Bengali.

"We absolutely love these types of student activities," said Mandy DeGraff, a freshman general transfer student from Spring Hill, TN, who plans to become a dental hygienist. "It really gives us a chance to experience the wonderfully diverse college atmosphere here at Columbia State."