Saturday, February 19, 2011

International Friendship Banquet Set

Food, dance, and entertainment highlight this year's Friendship International Banquet. The banquet is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, Tennessee Tech University's Roaden University Center's Multipurpose Room. The banquet is sponsored by International Friends, a non-profit organization focused on matching international students with host families. The potluck dinner is an annual event that celebrates the ethnic diversity on campus and in the community.

"Ideally, I'd like for everyone to have a good time and hopefully host family matches will be made" said Heidemarie Weidner, president of International Friends. "It's important to know people from other countries, they have faces. They're not just an ideology."

The organization is made up of TTU faculty members and community volunteers who are interested in the welfare of international students and represent professions such as university faculty, lawyers, doctors, biologists, engineers, bankers, businesspersons and homemakers.

At this year's banquet, Leslie Burks, Colleen Hays and Lucia Andronescu will present "Flamenco Dances," a style of dance native to several regions in southern Spain. Face paintings, games and prizes, henna paintings, and card and bookmark making will be available at the banquet as well. Each guest is asked to bring a sweet or savory dish and/or a one-liter drink that represents his or her country. International Friends was founded in 1968 and has been focused on providing host families for international students ever since.

"It's never a room and board situation," Weidner said. "It's a long lasting friendship situation. Families will have the student over for dinner, take them to a concert or simply take them out for an outdoor activity."

The organization's activities began in late August with an ice cream social for international students. They also participate in the annual Fall Fun Fest, where international students write names of guests in different scripts. In late October, they host a cookout and roast for the students and their host families. For more information, call Weidner at 520-7434.