Caribbean dinner brings culture to campus

Courtesy of Mara McDonough | During the Caribbean dinner on Thursday night, students were able to practice playing on steel drums. Some of the songs played included "Uptown Funk" and "Under the Sea."

Bridget Abbott | Staff Writer

Passing the Towers Multipurpose room on Oct. 5, students could smell the rich aroma of Caribbean cuisine and listen to the rhythm of steel drums.

The Center for African Studies and the Honors College hosted a Caribbean Culture Dinner to celebrate diversity and inclusivity on campus and teach students more about Caribbean food and culture.

The event included a tasty dinner catered by Leon’s Caribbean Restaurant, a live steel drum performance and steel drum lessons.

Students and staff came together in the Towers MPR room to enjoy the menu of jerk chicken, rice, beans and plantains.

As guests arrived, they were welcomed by the savory aromas of Caribbean cuisine and were able to enjoy popular songs like “Under the Sea,” “Uptown Funk” and “Margaritaville” played on steel drums before having their own lessons on the instrument.

Kadey Tillman, a senior and student aide for the Center for African Studies, hopes to continue to spread cultural awareness in the remaining weeks of the semester through events like the Caribbean Cultural Dinner.

“I feel like it’s very important to bring awareness to all cultures,” Tillman said. “Events like this just get everyone within the community on campus to know what’s going on, and give them a chance to learn about each other.”

Greg Olikenyi also enjoyed his time at the event after being invited by the Center for African Studies.

He expressed his gratitude for the organization celebrating other cultures through food and music.

“I like the diversity and multicultural character of Duquesne,” Olikenyi said. “We are international and multicultural, and that diversity came here today through such music, showcasing aspects of global culture.”

Olikenyi said that the event resonated with him and fellow students in attendance.

“I’m glad that the Center for African Studies had this event,” Olikenyi said. “It gives people a chance to have contact with the outside world from America and have a global mind set.”

The Center for African Studies strives to create and encourage opportunities for students and staff alike to experience the rich traditions and cultures of Africa.

Mara McDonough, the management assistant for the center also shared her excitement about hosting the cultural event.

“I think it’s the only way to bring people together and to learn about other cultures,” McDonough said. “We host lots of super cool monthly events.”

McDonough added that the center hosts this event every fall, including the steel drum performance and lessons, for anyone who missed it this time around.

The organization will host their next event Thursday in Towers MPR, where they will provide materials to make DIY Hanging Air Plants from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free food will also be provided.

The center encourages all students to attend their events to learn more about different cultures on campus.