By Nathanael Hawthorne
Parades, masks, beads, food and New Orleans — most people will agree that Mardi Gras is best celebrated down south, but some Youngstown State University groups brought the cultural event to campus.
The French, Spanish, Italian clubs, iPals and Poverty Awareness in Youngstown brought Mardi Gras to Jones Hall for a night of fun, food and culture. The event occurred March 5, the same day as the actual celebration worldwide.
The event was put on for the first time last year with just the French club running the show. This year, the other clubs became involved.
Rachel Faerber-Ovaska, part time French and German faculty member, is the French club advisor.
“It was great. I was so happy at the end of the event,” Faerber-Ovaska said.
Having different cultures in attendance made a major impact on the event. Each group brought food, there were prizes and games and it was an overall night of exuberant joy.
“All these different groups of students were getting to know each other better, just dancing together and sharing the cultures with the international students,” Faerber-Ovaska said. “It was just a really nice cultural interaction that was full of joy.”
“To me, it was very warm and accepting because we had different culture themes, and it was a lot of fun seeing how each one contributed to the ball,” Paloma Matthews, French club treasurer and mathematics major, said.
The event was advertised on Facebook, as well as with flyers around campus, thus opening the event up to students not a part of the respective clubs.
The turnout for the party was great as well despite a frigid Youngstown evening. Each group pre-sold roughly 100 tickets and the total attendance was close to 80 people.
“I think some of the problems with the turnout was the weather,” Matthews said. “But of course we can’t change the weather.”
The biggest thing the event was looking forward to was the inclusion of the other foreign language groups.
“I don’t think the event would be the same without that element of diversity,” Alicia Herman, French club co-president and a political science and economics major said. “We would definitely be happy to include more [groups].”
“When the event was over, officers from all three clubs said to me ‘I can’t wait to organize this next year,’” Faerber-Ovaska said.