Kent State International Students Help Bring the Tastes of India to Campus Menu
Kent State University Dining Services is creating a welcoming environment in the dining halls for Kent State’s international student body, which represents 109 countries. The latest advancement involved a trip to a Hindu Temple in Parma.
The international food station in Prentice Café has themed events every other week, but an Indian menu was not part of the rotation.
“Currently we encourage all students to share their recipes so they feel at home,” said Marlene Maneage, senior manager for Prentice Café. “We talk to our employees and customers to get to know them and what they like to eat.”
During the fall 2016 semester, Maneage ventured with her international student employees to the Shiva Vishnu Hindu Temple of Greater Cleveland in Parma, Ohio. She explored the student’s culture, food and lifestyle.
“Last semester I had a larger group of students graduating, which was sad and nice at the same time,” Maneage said. “They told me it was time to go to the temple, and it was absolutely beautiful; I am fortunate to have the ability to connect with students and maintain long lasting relationships.”
“From the temple experience, Prentice Hall is creating an Indian menu to be a part of the international station,” Maneage said. “We had nothing of that sort before, and would like to continue to add new recipes as our student’s request.”
Maneage believes she has more of a sense of compassion with the international population on Kent State’s campus. The particular students who took her to the temple have touched her heart in many ways.
“International students come to us with little to no knowledge of Kent State University and its surroundings; they have taught me as I have taught them,” Maneage said. “Our international students rely on each other for information and support when they arrive on campus. My temple visit made me have a newfound appreciation for what it is they go through.”
Maneage knew how excited her students were to show their culture. She found the different aspects of their religion and culture eye opening.
Maneage says they are working on additional little changes this semester. Students should expect to see new floors, furniture and games in Prentice Café when returning from spring break.
“Bring us your ideas and if we can feasibly produce what you are asking of us, we most certainly will,” Maneage said.