Oktoberfest! A Taste of Culture and Diversity
Benjamin J. Grady, Editor in Chief
Oglethorpe University is a school all about diversity and the mixing of different cultures. Each semester, Oglethorpe receives international students from different parts of the world. Students can expect an enriching educational experience and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture in Atlanta. Although international students have the opportunity to learn about the culture here, our school hosts different events that allow both international students and in-state students to learn about all sorts of cultures. Here at Oglethorpe, Oktoberfest is the way everyone can get a taste (both quite literally and figuratively)!
“It’s a German term, right? When they have October that’s when the Fall starts,” said Gregory Williams, a dining staff member here at Oglethorpe University who explained what Oktoberfest is all about. “We have a town in Georgia called Helen. They celebrate this like you wouldn’t believe. Man, they have a good time.” Williams has been serving students here at Oglethorpe since 2013. Although Williams began working here in 2013, he initially retired from his previous long-standing line of work in catering before finding Oglethorpe. “I think I fell in love with the school because I started attending banquets,” he said. “I used to work late night shifts which were something that I could stand.”
Being here for almost 10 years, he talks about how he has seen a lot of diversity here at Oglethorpe. Through understanding the connection between Oglethorpe and Helen, Georgia, the parallels of Oktoberfest are revealed. “Oglethorpe is about as old as Helen, and our people come from all over the country,” he said. “Several different places throughout the country has its own town: Chinatown, San Francisco…they all have their little spot.” That element is important because those who come from certain countries where European culture originates from feel less alone in their semester abroad.
While diversity and culture through the food here at Oglethorpe is an important factor of the student life experience, the workers here make the environment welcoming for international students when events like Oktoberfest are presented. As Williams explains, the staff here become familiar with many students from different backgrounds, and that familiarity creates bonds. That is what it is all about too: Forming a lasting connection here at this school that you can look back on and remember as a great experience. “A lot of people come to see me,” he said. “Being the cashier, I get a lot of feedback about the food that I give back to the chef. And we get a lot of feedback!”