Taste of OSU returns, giving students opportunity to try international foods and watch cultural performances

Taste of OSU returns, giving students opportunity to try international foods and watch cultural performances
Taste of OSU returns, giving students opportunity to try international foods and watch cultural performances

The Oriental Dance team performs inside the Ohio Union. Courtesy of Maureen Mille

Savor the flavor and spice up the weekend by participating in Taste of OSU Feb. 17. 

The revival of Taste of OSU, an event founded in 1997, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic will give students the opportunity to celebrate their culture and experience others through international foods and cultural performances. The Office of International Affairs will host the event in the  Archie M. Griffin Ballroom within the Ohio Union from 5-8:30 p.m., according to the Taste of OSU website. 

The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must buy a $1 food ticket in order to try the food at different booths, according to its website.

When attendees enter the event, they will be greeted with a variety of uniquely decorated cultural booths, Maureen Miller, director of communications for the Office of Internal Affairs, said.

“They might decorate it with posters or flags. Some of them wear T-shirts and clothing representative of their home countries,” Miller said. “Some groups do interactive kinds of things. Some people will do henna, some groups will write your name in their language.”

Each booth typically has two different foods for attendees to try, Mia Miller, student chair of Taste of OSU 2023 and a fourth-year in international studies, said. These would include a type of “rice and then some dessert or whatever they’ve chosen that they think represents their culture.” 

Students can expect to see food and cultural booths from organizations — including the Korean Student Association, Brazilian Students Association and Lebanese Student Organization —will host food and cultural booths. There will be performances by the Aloha Dance Club, Indian Students Association, Salsa Club and more, according to its website.

Since many current students and organizations were unaware of the event, Maureen Miller said she hoped to start reintroducing Taste of OSU slowly by having fewer organizations involved and by only hosting the event in the ballroom.

“Many of the students who have participated in Taste of OSU before had graduated, so we thought we’d bring it back a little bit slowly,” Maureen Miller said. “So, this year, we have 15 international student organizations cooking food, and we have about 20 cultural performances.”

The event is open to anyone, not just Ohio State students, Mia Miller, who attended Taste of OSU before enrolling, said. 

“​​I got to see the celebration and all of the events and everything in its full glory, you could say, because back then there were about 4,000, 3,000 people coming.” Mia Miller said. “It opened to the whole [Columbus] community with 30 student groups.” 

Maureen Miller said before its absence, Taste of OSU had become a popular attraction on campus.

“Right before the pandemic hit, and at that moment in time, Taste of OSU really took over the Ohio Union,” Maureen Miller said. “We had the food and the performance hall and in the ballroom, and then a stage was set up in the atrium area, so everyone could watch the performances right there on the first floor and then all around the balcony on the second floor.

Alison Lee, a fourth-year in biology, participated in the event in 2020 as a volunteer photographer. She’ll now experience Taste of OSU as the president of the Taiwanese American Student Association. 

“I think I’ll get a different perspective because I will be training, cooking and serving food the day of, so I’ll be the one that’s more interacting with a guest,” Lee said. 

Lee said Taste of OSU brings the diversity on Ohio State’s campus together and celebrates it, which is why she decided to participate again in the revival. 

“I’m really passionate about culture and diversity and try to promote that on campus,” Lee said. “So, I think Taste of OSU does that perfectly to showcase the diverse culture that exists on OSU’s campus.”

Food tickets can be purchased ahead of time beginning  Feb. 14, or the day of the event.