The International Students’ Association and African Students’ Association are bringing together their respective annual events to produce the first ever International Food and Fashion Festival.
The combined show will bring together ISA’s international food festival and ASA’s Project Reach fashion show. The event will be at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Hunter Welcome Center. To attend the event, it has been asked that people bring a $2 donation or two cans of food that will go to the West Texas Food Bank.
ASA has had its annual fashion show for a little over half a decade, and ISA has hosted its food festival for more than 10 years. Both organizations’ purposes are to enrich ACU’s campus with cultures outside of its own.
Although the events have carried on separately for several years, bringing them together seemed like a no-brainer for ASA president Soo Hun Yoon, senior biochemistry major from Sierra Leone.
“We are building greater community and collaboration in a way we did not imagine,” Yoon said. “My goal for any of our events is to reach many people with as much culture as we can, and in this way, we can provide food, entertainment and culture all in one seating.”
Yoon has attended both events in the past two years and said he couldn’t help but notice something was missing.
“A light bulb lit up,” Yoon said. “The international food festival has people, and the fashion show has a different illustration of culture, and thus this year we have the International Food and Fashion Festival incorporating two important parts of any culture.”
Although the two groups have never collaborated, both said they are eager to see the turnout. In total, both groups have drawn in crowds ranging from 250-300 people and have high hopes of reaching those numbers again this weekend.
Prentice Ashford, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said he hopes the event will spark thoughtful discussions about the diverse cultures present in Abilene.
“The community really benefits from being able to expose not only themselves, but their kids and families to different cultures that can hopefully lead to other conversations after the event,” Ashford said in a released statement.
There is also a charitable element to the show, as all cash donations will go toward Kiva, a nonprofit organization that allows people to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 82 countries.
“It’s a free food and fashion show with an opportunity to give back, how can it get any better?” Yoon said. “Through this event, students are able to embrace and proudly share their culture, and others can come to learn the different types of communities that exist on campus.”