On Wednesday, November 20 the Office of International Services (OIS) and the Vassar International Student Association (VISA) hosted the 7th edition of Kaleidoscope, Vassar’s annual international food and cultural festival. For the first time in memory, crowds were gathering and lines were forming as early as 4:45pm, a reflection of how Kaleidoscope has become an established campus tradition. This year the event drew in over 400 people, who came together to enjoy food, song and dance and celebrate Vassar’s amazing cultural diversity . Kaleidoscope was first conceived in 2006 in order to fill what OIS and VISA felt was a gap on campus. “We wanted to create the space for students to celebrate their culture and invite the entire campus to participate. There hadn’t been an event like this before,” said Andrew Meade, director of OIS. The name Kaleidoscope, Andrew also mentioned, was proposed by Debbie Pahm, the first Vietnamese student to come to Vassar, during a long brainstorming session at the Retreat.
Although the event has a distinct feel each year, many of the elements of today’s Kaleidoscope were already in place in 2006: the unbelievable amounts of food representing different regions of the world, the flag ceremony, the dessert cook-off and the photo contest. Nine years on, what has changed the most has been the entertainment component. The first few years Hudson valley groups were invited to Vassar to perform a variety of cultural acts, from Chinese to Bavarian dances. Recently, World’s Got Talent’s, an all-campus talent show which seeks to represent the diversity of culture at Vassar, has become the main entertainment aspect at Kaleidoscope. And it never fails to disappoint!
This year the variety of acts was remarkable. Watching everything from belly dancing, to original singer-songwriter pieces, to African dance, to martial arts, to acapella, the crowd was enthralled. The winners for World’s Got Talent 2013 were: Nik Srinivasan ‘15, performing his original R&B track “Lookin” for Most Inspiring, Tianqi Zhu ‘17 and company performing Chinese martial arts as Most Original, and Vassar’s oldest all-male acappella group, The Axies in the “Most likely to go viral on Youtube” category.
The Annual International Photo Contest was also a huge success, with over 200 photos submitted, a record number of submissions! The photos were exhibited at ACDC for several weeks and then displayed in UpC the day of Kaleidoscope, during which the winners were announced. The winners for each category were as follows:
- Boardwalk at Krafla – Morgan Williams
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Gaze – Benjamin Xiong
Power – Sharon Lee
As the Photo Contest winners were being announced, the Dessert Cook-Off entries were being judged by longtime dessert judges, David Kennett and Susan Correll. This year’s competition boasted over 30 entries from all parts of the world, from a classic Latin American favorite, the Tres Leches cake to more gourmet concoctions such as black pepper, dark chocolate chip scones and an assortment of French macaroons. This year’s winner were: Hanna Wintz and Kennedell Amoo-Gottfried’s Chocolate Mousse in Edible Chocolate Cups in 1st place, Kiersta Hsi, Nikki Wong, Dahlia Sharps, and Tatum Fitzgerald’s Kladdkaka in 2nd place, and Apoorva Natarajan & Dushyant Naresh’s Kesari in 3rd place. Congratulations for all the master cooks!
As is always the case, the flag ceremony was a beautiful, at times funny and overall extremely poignant display of the huge range of countries and cultures Vassar students hail from and identify with. The flags of over 50 countries were represented in the ceremony. Furthermore the food, which is always the largest, most visible and most logistically daunting aspect of Kaleidoscope, was pulled off flawlessly. For this we owe a great deal of thanks to the ACDC team, who have been important partners in orchestrating this event since its inception.
It was a pleasure to see so many of you there and we are already looking forward to Kaleidoscope 2014!
OIS & VISA