International students representing more than 30 countries will present an evening of international food, student presentations and a multicultural show at the annual ISC Coffeehouse fundraising event this Saturday.
Hosted by the Goshen College International Student Club (ISC), the event includes a show that features dancing, singing, poetry reading and rapping.
Yohaan Varghese, a sophomore from India, is one of six student leaders in the club this year. Although Varghese was a member as a freshman, he says he is now beginning to realize the significance of the annual ISC Coffeehouse event and how important it is for students, faculty and community members to attend.
With the conversation of diversity heating up around campus, Varghese thinks it especially important for this event to be a communal experience.
“It’s not only just about international students,” said Varghese, “but about the whole Goshen College body. Everybody is represented.”
Varghese urges non-international students to attend so that they can “learn where the international students are from and what they are doing here.” He added, “You have this amazing opportunity to take in so many cultures.”
To share these many cultures, ISC members will serve a home-cooked meal representing 15 different countries. Three students, from Venezuela, Nigeria, and India, will use a Powerpoint to tell about their home countries. In addition to the multicultural meal and Powerpoint, students have been working hard on preparing their acts for the show after the meal.
A group of 14 students will open the show by presenting two dance numbers choreographed by Yuli Whiteman from Australia and Prashansa Dickson from India, both first-years.
“It was a bit stressful at times,” said Whiteman, mentioning both the difficulties of finding practice time and keeping everyone on task. Neither Whiteman nor Dickson had choreographed anything before, but after watching a video of their group perform, Whiteman was happy with the result and is anticipating their final performance.
All in all, the ISC Coffeehouse will showcase the hard work of international students as well as the help from other students and Skip Barnett, the ISC advisor. Ongoing preparation includes advertising, planning rehearsals, decorating, cooking and deciding which organization to support financially.
“This year we will give money to the Elkhart Women’s Shelter,” said Andrea Moya, a junior from Colombia and also a student leader of the ISC.
“We want to support projects that enhance the well-being of everyone in the community,” continued Moya, “especially those who are oppressed by systems of violence. We want to give back to the greater community that we are a part of.”
Both Moya and Varghese hope that those who attend the ISC Coffeehouse event can see more than just a fun evening of good food and entertainment, but also the larger picture that it represents: a celebration of diversity and a commitment to community, both local and international.
Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. in the College Mennonite Church Fellowship Hall; the show will begin at 7 p.m. in Sauder Concert Hall. Tickets are available through the Welcome Center or online at www.goshen.edu/tickets