SUNY Broome’s International Student Organization hosted a multicultural luncheon on April 28, 2022 in Decker 201 to raise funds to support Ukrainian relief efforts. Students prepared a variety of dishes ranging from pierogi and borscht to carne asada and dolma. Many of the students donned traditional clothing from their respective countries to make the luncheon experience even more immersive. 

For just $10.00, students, faculty, and staff were treated to heaping plates of global cuisines. Professor Myriam Stanton and Professor Ellen Brand met for lunch to support their students and were delightfully pleased by the variety and quality of the fare.

“We are texting our colleagues to tell them not to miss this! I would be happy to order any of these dishes in a restaurant,” said Brand.

Yelyzaveta “Elle” Yatsuk respenseted the country of Ukraine at the luncheon and was honored to share information about her culture with those in attendance. Elle was born in Kyiv and lived there until she was six years old. She then emigrated to the United States with her mother, but returned to the Ukraine each summer to visit her father and her extended family. Yatsuk’s father and his family have remained in the Ukraine to volunteer to defend their homeland. Currently, Elle’s father is working on a search and rescue team as they deal with the aftermath of the Russian attacks. While communication isn’t always feasible, they try their best to talk via social media and secure messaging platforms. 

“I really struggle with wanting to go to Ukraine and help my people. I’m only staying in the United States because there is someone here who loves me who does not want me to be in danger. So, I am doing my best to help in other ways. Today’s ISO luncheon is an example of that,” said Yatsuk.

The International Students Organization (ISO) is not just reserved for SUNY Broome’s international student population. To the contrary, the ISO welcomes anyone who is interested in learning about different cultures and developing friendships with students from around the world. Currently, members of the ISO represent countries from across the globe including Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Germany, Mexico, Pakistan, and Russia.

Vice President of the International Students Organization, Aisha Ismail, discussed the importance of spreading the word that ISO is open to all students, both domestic and international. 

“We actually have been discussing the potential of changing the organization’s name to make it sound more inclusive. I am technically not an international student. I was born in the United States after my parents emigrated from Iraq, but as a first generation American, I see the true value of building friendships with students from other cultures,” shared Ismail. 

For many of the ISO students, hosting the multicultural luncheon amidst Ramadan, the ninth month of the Musilm calendar, was a little tricky. Students who follow the religious observances during the month of Ramadan are required to fast until sundown each day. 

“Even though many of us are fasting, we still wanted to be part of today’s event to show our support for our friends and for the people of Ukraine. We are hosting a special ISO Iftar (the meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan) for all of the students this weekend and we are very excited. We all have our outfits picked out already,” said Ismail. 

Connect with the International Students Organization (ISO) at SUNY Broome!

International Student Organization Luncheon