“As you walk into the Fieldhouse your senses take it all in. You see the flags and the decorations on the wall. A banquet is set for hundreds. You are greeted with an appetizer from Germany and the basketball hoops are less obvious.” So reported The Whitworthian in 1991. Since 1985, the International Banquet, now known as the International Festival, has been one of Whitworth’s biggest cultural events, put on by the International Club (once known as the Cosmopolitan Club).
Its inaugural year was due to the efforts of Saudi Arabian students, who wanted to ensure that their fellow international students remembered and celebrated their cultures while on campus. They funded the banquet that year and only invited faculty. The following year, the International Club adopted the annual event, which has since expanded in size and scope.
In recent years, the banquet has been the culminating event after a week of international- and cultural-awareness efforts; it has also moved – from the fieldhouse to Cowles Auditorium, and, most recently, to the HUB. Students and the greater campus community are invited to sample dishes from around the world and to enjoy cultural displays, costumes and dances. Entertainment has included performances by the Whitworth gospel choir, Exceptional Praise, and by international fashion shows and ethnic dances. Brittany Roach, ’12, Whitworth’s 2011 student cultural events coordinator, said, “I hope that people will take away from these events a deeper appreciation of and understanding for their fellow Whitworthians and that these events will help us to journey even deeper into being a community of courage.”