Multicultural Hour brings together MU students from around the world

Over 100 countries are represented at MU.

Exotic tongues painted the blank, wooden tables at Memorial Union on Sept. 3. Pale noodles drowned in an orange sauce, yellow pizzas gleamed with golden globes of grease and browned wontons sat contentedly next to boxes of fried chicken. Chatter and laughter textured the room.

“I can learn culture (through) food,” said Oraphan Butkatunyoo, visiting scholar and vice president for international programs.

With the assortment of food came an assortment of voices, as international students gathered at 4 p.m. to celebrate the first Multicultural Hour of this year. The event was sponsored on campus by the Asian Affairs Center, the International Center and the Graduate Professional Council.

“We can come here, people from different countries and share our experiences and (learn about) other cultures,” Multicultural Hour coordinator Tzu-Yang Chao said.

The program is intended to help international and domestic students bond. Scholars, faculty and alumni may join in as well. Each Thursday, the program hosts different events at no cost.

“We want our students and folks to see this as a comfortable (place) where they can come and visit and learn about international prospects,” AAC Director Sang Kim said.

The organizations host other events as well, including What’s Special About Your Culture? on Sept. 10 and the Chinese Moon Festival on Sept. 24.

“People are willing to come together and look at their commonalities more than they look at their exceptionalities,” MU graduate Mary Gallegos said.

Centers like the AAC, International Center, and more strive to change this. By using the Multicultural Hour as a gateway, these organizations make MU’s 35,000-plus student body seem smaller and more close-knit. Over 100 countries are represented at the university, Kim said.

At Multicultural Hour, students can visit with the people of those nations, no travel ticket necessary.

“The world is here,” Kim said.

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