This past year, the Center for Global Engagement’s (CGE) Virtual International Coffee Hour has showcased more than 45 unique recipes from around the world with multicultural Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and international students, serving approximately 2,000 participants.
CGE transitioned the program to a virtual space in March 2020 to provide the FSU community with an opportunity to continue to learn and engage during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 20 multicultural RSOs and departments, as well as more than a dozen individual international students, shared their cultures with the FSU community.
“International Coffee Hour was the first event we were determined to create a virtual space for since we knew so much of our campus community relied on it each week to connect and decompress,” said CGE program coordinator Laura Dean. “I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome in terms of its success, and we are so thankful to all of the participating student organizations as well as international students for making each week a unique and fun event. We are looking forward to providing a safe in-person experience again this summer, and we look forward to sharing those details with our community as soon as they’re available.”
The program, which usually draws crowds of 250 to 300 members of the FSU community during the fall and spring semesters, has always provided a way for domestic and international students, scholars, faculty and staff to learn about a featured country or culture each week while trying an international snack and engaging in conversation with people from around the world.
Since going virtual, the program has highlighted recipes from more than 30 different countries and areas, including China, India, Brazil, Venezuela and Italy. Each Wednesday, CGE shares a new recipe on its Facebook page so participants can gather ingredients and follow along with the program, which airs at 5 p.m. every Friday.
“Making food for International Coffee Hour each week has been the highlight of my career,” said Jesse O’Reilly, The Globe building manager and professional chef. “When everything closed in Spring 2020 it was hard to think we wouldn’t be able to continue our events. Luckily, I had a lot of cooking demonstration experience, but the key ingredient to making it a success was the enthusiasm and commitment from all of our wonderful co-hosts. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the program. I learned so much working with each group, and now we have an extensive portfolio of novel recipes for CGE to carry on.”
Students co-host the program and present about their home country and culture. O’Reilly provides a live cooking demonstration, and then participants are divided into breakout rooms for conversation.
Virtual International Coffee Hour will continue from 5 – 6:30 p.m. on Zoom every Friday until April 16. To receive the weekly email with Zoom login information, visit bit.ly/CGEcoffeehour. For past recipes and videos from Virtual International Coffee Hour, visit cge.fsu.edu/vch.