Dedicated to inspiring students to become global citizens, Fontbonne University strives to create a learning environment that supports the contributions made by diverse individuals and groups. One of the ways we do this is through the International Bazaar, hosted by FISA (Fontbonne International Student Alliance) and Multicultural Affairs. This annual campus celebration of diverse cultures brings the Fontbonne community together to enjoy performances, food, and crafts from the various countries represented in our student body.
We spoke with members of FISA to understand why events like this are important to our students. Airi Murata, Global Studies Major and Class of 2025, explained, “The International Bazaar is a great opportunity to share our cultures and get to know others. It is important to understand and respect each other’s cultures.” Murata, pictured left, is from Mie, Japan. She shared traditional garments like the kimono and origami crafts at her table during the event. When engaging with students at her table, Murata shared her favorite celebrations: New Year, Matsuri (Festival), and the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Fellow FISA member Anna Muhama from Zambia, Biology Major and Class of 2025, was also present. She chose to join FISA to share and experience new cultures. Muhama, pictured right, explained, “Groups like FISA are important because they bring international and domestic students together to learn from each other about different cultures and backgrounds. This event is important because the diverse cultures around our campus come together to share their culture and traditions.”
Other students proudly shared their cultures during the festivities as well. Anna Laine’s family is from Finland, and she gave a presentation of fun facts as well as images of her family’s riverside cabin. One of the things she loves most about her family’s home country is the openly inclusive culture. Groups like the LGBTQ community are embraced and supported at a national level.
Members of ALAS, Alliance of Latino American Students, shared traditional Mexican foods such as tamales and arroz. ALAS President Perla Zaragoza explained that part of their mission is to educate others about the Latinx community’s unique traditions and hardships.
Basil Hayne, pictured left, prepared Jamaican jerk chicken. He explained that his father was from Jamacia, and they bonded over a love of cooking. He wanted to share that love with the campus. Huy Van and Dan Trieu also shared their love of traditional foods with Pho, a Vietnamese dish.
Spirit of Angela West African Dance & Drum also came and celebrated. The group presented West African artifacts and history while engaging everyone with stories and traditional dances.
From East Asian Heena to Central American dancing, the were 24 countries and cultures that make up our student body were beautifully represented at the International Bazaar.