International Night returns after gap year

Kenneth Rebello, Reporter

International Night, one of South Dakota State University’s largest international cultural events, is all set to take place after a year gap. The event is at 6.30 p.m. March 26 in the Student Union Volstorff Ballroom.

International Night is a social event hosted by International Relations Council (IRC) to promote diversity and culture through different cuisines, fashion shows, dance, skits and vocal talents by students from various countries. Both domestic and international students look forward to this event every year.

“It is one of the events to showcase the talents from our international student population and the international community here at Brookings,” said Islamiah Fuad, international student adviser at the Office of International Affairs (OIA).

Attendees of International Night  get to celebrate and gain knowledge of various traditions portrayed across different countries. Internationals students at the event say they feel more comfortable dressing up in traditional attire to showcase their culture.

“Students also come together for this event to connect with others,” Fuad said. “They don’t meet each other very often and (it) gives them a platform to meet other students from their country.”

 International Night was canceled in 2022 due to a lack of various resources. Sodexo, the current dining service, joined campus during fall 2022 and needed some time to settle before hosting a large event.

“Due to staffing and different resources, along with timing in general, we were not able to host it during fall 2022,” Fuad said.

Last held in 2021, International Night had garnered an increase in attendees, which led to a completely packed Volstorff Ballroom.

“I think we had around 450 attendees for the event,” Tricia Serrao, former president of the IRC, said. “We were completely sold out in terms of tickets for seating arrangements as people wished to attend the event, even if it meant to stand throughout the show.”

Food is one main reason people look forward to attending International Night. Aramark catered for the last International Night, and Sodexo will be taking over this year’s menu.

“Without a blink, I can say it’s the food people mainly look forward to International Night–besides the performance,” Serrao said.

The Volstorff Ballroom recently underwent renovations, so attendees can expect new features such as addition of new screens, projectors, updated lighting and carpet flooring.

“The spacing would be more of an advantage when it comes to staging,” Fuad said. “A lot more people would now be able to see the stage more clearly, but the seating plan would be the same.”

A lot of work goes into making International Night a successful event. From deciding a theme to promoting the event, committee members of IRC work all year to pull it off.

“Coming together as a team to bring in ideas, spreading the word, planning, budgeting and time management is a major challenge for a committee to host these events,” Serrao said.

Janhavi Virkar, a master’s student studying nutrition and exercise science,  has attended every International Night since 2018. She said she enjoyed gaining knowledge about different cultures and traditions through different performances and fashion shows over the years. She also wishes to attend this year’s event and believes that new performances and cuisines would guarantee a fun-filled evening.

Jenna Parliament, a master’s biology major who has also attended International Night since 2018, said she had no idea about what International Night was until she attended and enjoyed the music and food representing many different cultures and traditions.

The ticket sales for International Night are priced at $15 for students and $20 for faculty.