International Feast of Flavors
The International Feast of Flavors is a staple of the Days of Diversity Series, a program that takes place through the school year and is a celebration of what makes everyone at RVU unique. On the Colorado campus, the feast of savory dishes included homemade dishes and drinks like Empanadas from Chile, Baklava from Greece, and Mango Lassi from Bangladesh. “Whenever I am home sick I love having Cuban food and desserts,” said Mariela Rodriguez, PA-I, of the Arroz con Leche she made for the event. “It reminds me of spending the holidays with my family in South Florida.”
Food is one of the most important ways in which people interact with each other, be it a family dish from a recipe passed down through generations or a new favorite meal while traveling abroad. This is especially true during the holidays. For Jenifer A. Fisher, MLIS, Co-Director of Urban Underserved Track, spanakopita became a traditional holiday dish that was introduced to the family by her aunt, who loved Grecian culture after living in Mykonos in her twenties. “My aunt died when I was a sophomore in college after fighting breast cancer for 13 years, but I still like to keep her memory alive by continuing the tradition she started all those years ago.” RVUers also piled their plates high with Rajma, a creamy dish with kidney beans and tomatoes, potato latkes from Eastern Europe, and KimBap, a traditional South Korean dish served at family celebrations.
An array of desserts such as Cuban Flan and Soan Papdi (from Bangladesh) greeted RVUers as they walked through the doors. “[Soan Papdi] is a traditional Bengali dessert I ate as a child, especially during festivals,” said Ilma Chowdhury, OMS I. “Now every time I eat it, I am reminded of my family and friends back home in Bangladesh.” Trilce Ruize, Advisor, shared the history behind her Cuban Flan. “[It] was brought to Latin America from Europe by the Spaniards and Portuguese that colonized there. Every Latin American country has a different version.”
Attendees of the feast had two sweet drinks to choose from: Mango Lassi and Horchata. “[Mango Lassi] is a staple in my household,” said Nadira Matin, OMS I, “whenever there are guests over, my dad will always have some ready for everyone.” Of her drink, Lorena Castro, PA I, said “Horchata was my favorite drink as a kid. My mom would not make it at home because it needed to be constantly mixed in order to maintain its true Horchata flavors. Everytime we would go to a Mexican restaurant, I would beg my mom to get a cup!”
RVUCOM-SU’s Diversity Celebration
On the Southern Utah campus, there were cultural artifacts on display from Peru, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, the Navajo Nation, and more. These included traditional clothing, painted pottery, vases, games, artwork, figurines, and colorful woven fabrics. The celebration included a delicious feast, with dishes such as Malvapoeding, Flan Napolitano, mini cheesecakes, and Pakora. RVUers also placed a pin on a map signaling where they were born or where their families are from.
LGBTQ+ Discussion with Dr. Robyn Bodreau
OnRobyn Bodreau, MD, hosted a Q&A session with RVUCOM-SU students about her journey and the difficulties the transgender community faces. During the session, students learned about common terms and vocabulary in the LGBTQ+ community, such as gender identity (one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither), pansexual (someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to people of any gender), and non-binary (a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or woman).
Dr. Bodreau is a professor at Dixie State University (DSU) and the first transsexual employee at the university. Since she has started teaching at DSU, she says she has found a welcoming community. Dr. Bodreau is a member of the LGBTQ+ resource center on campus, where she helps students struggling with gender identity issues.