Southside looks to 'entice all five senses' with cultural celebrations

Southside is looking at new ways to celebrate cultures at Mason with plans to celebrate multiculural holidays with a festival atmospshere (Jake McLernon).

George Mason University’s all-you-can-eat dining hall, Southside, is making new efforts to celebrate Mason's many cultures.

A recent example was the kickoff to Hispanic Heritage month on Sept. 15.

For this Bienvenida Latina celebration, Spanish-style food was served both inside the cafeteria and outside on the quad around noon. Dancing an decorations, including festive hats were part of the celebration.

Hispanic student Ben Richards enjoyed the troop of dancers that performed outside of the Johnson Center but noted, “There were so many styles of Spanish dancing that weren’t represented, such as Bachata and Merenque.”

Bienvenida Latina is the start of many cultural events Southside plans to recognize. Celebrations of Diwali, the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and other festivals are all in the works.

Resident District Manager of Dining, Ram Nabar, came up with the idea to enhance the way cultures are celebrated at Southside.

The ideas he came up with included an emphasis the themes, decorations, music, and costumes.

This meant decorating the pathways between the Johnson Center and Southside to reflect the whole festive atmosphere.

According to Nabar, the goal is to take eating at Southside from just a meal, to an experience which entices all five senses.

At a university renowned for its diversity, Nabar believes that while students will be pleased to have their own culture represented by the school, it is equally important that they have the opportunity to learn about others’ cultures.

Freshman Jill Carter says, “It’s good to learn about other people, and it makes people here from other cultures feel more welcome and at home.”

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