By Charlotte Brookins
University of Iowa students, volunteers, staff, and faculty members celebrated community and togetherness during an annual fall meal on Nov. 20.
The event, which was sponsored by International Programs, the Center for Inclusive Academic Excellence, and the Office of the Dean of Students, provided students staying on campus during fall break with a seasonal meal.
“Every year we look forward to this event,” said Michael Bortscheller, associate director of international student and scholar services. “Not just because it’s fun to talk about food and U.S. holiday traditions, but also, and most importantly, because of the sense of community it engenders.”
Students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were among the many attending and volunteering at the fall meal served at the University Capitol Centre. One CLAS student attending the event said they were grateful for the chance to spend time with other community members and not be alone over fall break.
The meal was set up buffet-style, with volunteers from International Programs and other units on campus serving food. The event, which was catered by Hy-Vee, offered traditional Thanksgiving dishes such as turkey, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, and more.
Attendees could also register ahead of time for a grab-and-go meal.
Among those volunteering was Noppadol Malungpaishrope, a first-year student studying data science in CLAS. As a staff member for the International Student Support and Engagement Center, Malungpaishrope helped check students in and directed them to the meal.
“We want to emphasize a sense of community among the people in Iowa City,” Malungpaishrope explained. “This is a great opportunity for international students to interact with and communicate with the local community, as well as help them feel more at home here."
Another student volunteer at the event was Kahyun “Gabby” Kang, a second-year student studying international studies in CLAS. Kang works for International Student and Scholar Services as a peer assistant, collaborating with fellow employees to provide students accessible opportunities, such as this year’s fall meal.
At the event, Kang worked alongside other volunteers to serve food.
“A lot of people stay in Iowa City for the holidays,” Kang said. “Many international students are unable to go back to their home countries during this time, so we want to help people feel less alone.”
Whether you’re a current student at the university, an alum, or an Iowa City community member, events like these serve as a reminder that the University of Iowa is always a place to find family.