The Middle Eastern Student Union hosted Culture Night in collaboration with the Muslim Student Association to grow their membership and familiarize students on campus with Middle Eastern culture.
The event took place in the STEPS lobby on Oct. 14.
Sophia Hanna, ‘24, vice president of the union, said members of the organization are trying to grow the club so people on campus can learn about and share their culture.
“I feel like people on campus and people in general are not familiar with our culture, so we wanted to show and embrace everyone who wants to come,” Hanna said.
Hanna said during Culture Night members can present about their own countries with different cultures. Representatives also bring traditional foods and drinks.
“I’m here to learn about the different cultures and diversity of Lehigh University,” Sebnem Mercan, ‘26, said.
Mercan said she learned that even though the countries have different cultures, they share commonalities. For instance, Egypt and Turkey have common food.
She said the event made her want to join the union next year.
Dagmawit Abate, ‘26, said she attended the event to meet people from international backgrounds, as she and most of her friends are international students.
Abate said she was able to see the diversity of cultures and find similarities and differences each country has by interacting with others. She learned about the food and the history of weddings from India to China.
“There were things that I thought that I already knew about but today they proved me wrong, and I realized that I had stereotypes,” Abate said.
She said the event opened opportunities that were valuable for her, helping her know which club to get involved in.
“I came here for the food and the music,” said Chowdhury Farah Noor, ’26, who is from Bangladesh. “I miss stuff from home so much. I was so happy when I saw the Bangladesh section because I was not expecting that. I’m really happy that all the country’s representatives are here and it made me feel included.”
Similar to Abate, Farah Noor realized the cultures all have things in common, specifically their cuisine.
Farah Noor said it brought her happiness to see students wearing their cultural dresses that people don’t see in their daily routine. She said seeing the cultural garb away from her home country makes her smile.
“This event was complicated just because so many people were involved with having to set up presentations and finding the space,” Hanna said. “However, it made it a bit easier because we have been getting a lot of help from the (Muslim Student Association) club, which we collaborated with.”
She said she is happy to work and plan together as one executive board and thinks the event has been successful.
The union is planning an upcoming trip to Dorney Park to encourage members to hang out with one another. Hanna said their events hope to introduce people to one another every week.
She said she is looking forward to other events they are planning and hopes students enjoy and learn about cultures.