Brightly colored saris, delicious food, even Klingons — all were out in force at Lawlor Events Center April 3 for the University of Nevada, Reno’s 27th annual Night of All Nations celebration. University students of more than 50 nationalities, all offering cultural information and food from their countries, met people at booths during the event.
About 2,000 attendees made the booths difficult to navigate, but students still patiently stood in line to taste treats like Greek salad, baklava, and Chinese noodles while watching entertainers of all ages perform belly dancing and the hula. Face painting, mask making and sand painting were also popular activities.
“I didn’t expect it to be so crowded, but the food definitely makes it worth it,” said Nicole Olcese, an out-of-town visitor from Roseville, Calif., who heard about the event through a friend.
The International Club, a 70-member organization that fosters relationships between U.S. native and international students on campus, sponsored Night of all Nations. Carmen Ruiz, the club’s vice-president, said the night was a success.
“The point of the night is to have fun, and hopefully to learn a little about your own and other people’s roots while you’re at it,” she said.
Not all the Night of All Nations booths were in use on behalf of actual nations. Representatives from the University’s Women in Dialogue speaker series, University Studies Abroad Consortium and the Office of International Students also participated.
“It was nice having them there, because you see all of these wonderful performances and great food, and then you get to go over and visit them and find out how to get more involved in diverse groups on campus once the night is over,” said Michael Davis, an 18-year-old University student. “It worked really well.”
Michelle Wang is a 21-year-old engineering major who has attended Night of All Nations since her freshman year. Norway was her favorite booth this time.
“They had the best food,” she explained. “But I have to say the Klingon Empire was pretty awesome, too.”
Torgh, the Klingon group leader, was happy to see students interested in his booth.
“Tonight is all about diversity,” he said. “We wanted to make sure people see that diversity doesn’t have to be just about Earth cultures.”