The West Indian Student Organization (WISO) and Haitian Organization Promoting Education (HOPE) held their Taste of the West Indies event in the Chancellor’s Suite on Nov. 6.
The event featured traditional West Indian food, trivia about sociocultural aspects about the West Indies and Caribbean music. Centerpieces of cutouts of the islands were also displayed, especially of the more underrepresented islands like Nevis, St. Maarten and Dominica.
Kayla Rivers, a junior anthropology major and large events coordinator of WISO, explained the purpose of the event.
“I wanted an event on campus that would be both fun and educational,” Rivers said. “In my time at Seton Hall, there has never been events that truly educated and celebrated West Indian culture in all its nuances, and I wanted to bring that to the student body.”
Andi-Kaye Walters, a junior biology major and community service chair of WISO, said eating foods from a culture is a more intimate way to interact with another culture. She said WISO tried to get foods that were common to every West Indian country.
Some of the dishes included a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago called doubles, a Haitian black mushroom rice called djon djon and the Jamaican national dish of ackee and saltfish. Other foods included oxtail, jerk chicken, curry chicken, akra, bake, tostones and dhalpuri.
The proceeds of the event will go to Hurricane Dorian relief.
“Coming from the West Indies myself, and having experienced hurricanes, hearing about the disaster that happened there is something that really hits home for a lot of us, even though we’re not there,” Walters said. “We have family that’s from there. Seeing that we’re that smaller representation on campus, we really thought it was important to at least help our fellow brethren down there.”
Rivers said she has seen firsthand the depth of the tragedies of hurricanes and knows it requires years of redevelopment and as much aid as possible.
“After hearing of the devastation that occurred in the Bahamas, we couldn’t sit idly by and not do something to help,” Rivers said. “I know personally, my family and friends residing in my home of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, are still in recovery after hurricanes Irma and Maria that hit in 2017.”
Towards the end of the night, the floor was cleared for anyone to dance. Rivers said that DJ Mal organized the music, which included all the sounds that can be found across the West Indies like soca, dancehall, calypso, reggae and kompa.
Ishani Sachdeva, a junior economics major, attended the event and shared her thoughts.
“The Taste of the West Indies holistically was a great event, ranging from the quality and taste of the food to the ambience the e-board had created,” Sachdeva said. “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to their upcoming events.”
Kristel Domingo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.