By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend
Flavors, customs, and tastes may differ from country to country, but food is a universal language of human beings. Sharing a meal, whether an elaborate holiday feast or a simple dinner, can unite and create community among people.
For thirty-two years, Penn State Behrend’s Multi-Cultural Council, a student club comprising of cultural student organizations, sets the table for connection among the campus community at the club’s annual Harambee dinner.
This year’s dinner is scheduled for October 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in McGarvey Commons.
“Harambee is a word in Swahili that means ‘Let’s pull together’ and originated in the country of Kenya as a slogan for national unity,” said Andy Herrera, Director of Educational Equity and Diversity Programs and adviser for MCC. “We use this event as a way of uniting our campus community and celebrating the diversity of cultures here at Behrend.”
The annual event offers students, faculty and staff members a chance to get to know one another while enjoying an international buffet dinner and an evening of entertainment. This year’s guest speaker is Shinjini Das, a young entrepreneur, industrial engineer, global millennial influencer, and media personality. She is the founder and CEO of The Das Media Group, a boutique digital strategy consulting firm, and has been recognized for her global efforts to empower women.
The event will also feature a cultural performance with a professional touring group performing Afro-Brazilian music and the Brazilian dance art of capoeira.
“It’s really nice to see the diversity of students and community members who attend the event every year,” Herrera said. “Some students from MCC wear traditional dress from their various cultures, and group members emcee the event and speak about the importance and meaning of Harambee.”
The timing of the event is deliberate, Herrera said.
“Harambee is held in early fall every year to set a tone of cultural awareness and appreciation for the year. Like the name of the dinner suggests, it’s meant to pull us all together.”
If you wish to attend Harmabee, RSVP at the Multi-Cultural Council’s Behrendsync page. (NOTE: If link is not live, it will be soon!)