The Lakeland Mirror

Dinner brings together people from around the world

A+student+from+Colombia+%28left%29+and+another+from+Kenya+%28right%29+befriend+each+other+at+the+Melting+Pot+Jam.
A student from Colombia (left) and another from Kenya (right) befriend each other at the Melting Pot Jam.

A student from Colombia (left) and another from Kenya (right) befriend each other at the Melting Pot Jam.

Michelle Fromm

Michelle Fromm

A student from Colombia (left) and another from Kenya (right) befriend each other at the Melting Pot Jam.

Michelle Fromm, Managing Editor

Lakeland students and community members gathered together for a night of food and fun at the fifth annual Melting Pot Jam on Saturday, Feb. 23.Preview Changes

The Melting Pot Jam is a potluck dinner that the Sheboygan Chapter of People to People organizes with Lakelanders, including Alicia Helion, assistant professor of psychology. The dinner is designed to bring together students and community members from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Helion explained that the Melting Pot Jam began as a small gathering of Lakeland students at her home when she discovered an interesting trend in what her advisees were telling her.

“The international students said they really wanted to get to know domestic students,” said Helion. “And domestic students said they really wanted to get to know international students.”

And so the Melting Pot Jam was born to unite them. These days it is held at St. Luke United Methodist Church, but the focus is still the same: to unite people from around the world and let them know that they are not so very different from each other.

To reflect this, several banners were made under the heading “Visions of Peace,” including one by Lakeland’s own international student Cuiqian Chen. He explained that his banner instructed the viewer to “keep harmony” and showcased symbols of peace such as the yin yang sign.

Even the way the event was planned showed extraordinary coordination from a variety of people. While People to People and Helion were in charge, the Pi Kappa Gamma sorority helped with games and cleanup. April Arvan, assistant professor of exercise science and sport studies, brought her Racial and Ethnic Issues in Sport class to help make the evening run smoothly as well. And of course, members of St. Luke—including Pastor Ric Olson—got involved behind the scenes.

President Michael Grandillo and his wife Nancy were also in attendance that evening. Grandillo addressed the small crowd and explained how many of his own ancestors were Italian immigrants seeking out the American dream.

Looking across the sea of different faces, Grandillo said, “It’s not just an American dream—it’s a world dream.”

He went on to say that the world would be boring without so many different sorts of people.

“We are a world of individual differences. The UCC [United Church of Christ that Lakeland is affiliated with] lifts up individual differences…and believes everyone can make a difference. I’m here to tell you students that you can make a difference.”

The evening closed with a game to celebrate the differences—and universal human similarities—of those present. Each table was given a variety of craft objects—such as markers, fabric, glitter, and pompoms—and was given half an hour to create a poster with the items that reflected all of them as a whole.

People to People extends an invitation to their Brat Fry at the Sheboygan Falls Municipal Building on March 10. There will be other activities to participate in, including a flea market, raffle, and live music.

 

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Dinner brings together people from around the world