Students celebrate culture with food at POC-luck

Multicultural clubs shared family recipes and traditions


Elena Lee

Sion Jang ,’24, prepared pork and kimchi dumplings for the PAACE table.

Emma Malinak, A&L Editor

Six Washington and Lee student organizations came together on Dec 3. to host the second-annual POC-luck and invite students to sample foods from around the world.

Students of color cooked foods that represent their heritage and home in this twist on the potluck, a party in which every guest contributes a dish to the meal. 

Students from the Pan-Asian Association for Cultural Exchange (PAACE), Student Association for Black Unity (SABU),               Comunidad Latina Estudiantil (CLE), Native American Student Organization (NASO), South Asian Student Association (SASA) and Hillel shared a variety of snacks, main courses and desserts.

Leaders from each organization have been working together since the beginning of September to plan the event. 

Members of the clubs helped to cook for the event. After a weekend of chopping, mixing, baking, frying and simmering, the Harte Center in Leyburn Library was packed with dishes from Taiwanese braised pork to tamales. 

SABU President Naija Barakat, ‘24, said she knew she wanted to make the POC-luck an annual event after its success last year. She cooked many family recipes for the celebration this year, including her grandma’s macaroni and cheese.

“It’s honoring where I came from,” Barakat said about the food she prepared. 

Lizzy Nguyen, ‘25, and Sion Jang, ‘24, were two of many chefs that cooked for PAACE’s table. 

Nguyen made a Vietnamese dessert drink with coconut milk and fruit.

“It reminds me of home,” she said. “Most people in America haven’t really had a dish like this, so it made me happy to bring it to W&L.”

Jang made Korean dumplings from a special family recipe for the POC-luck.

“My mom has been developing and perfecting this recipe for 20 years,” she explained. “Cooking can be a vulnerable thing when you share something like that.” 

Tyler Waldman, ‘24, is a vice president of Hillel, the foundation for Jewish campus life. He made potato latkes, a potato pancake that is a traditional Hanukkah dish, and noodle kugel, a sweet casserole, for Hillel’s table. 

He said he was excited to see so many students working together to make the event possible.

“It’s nice for people to see that these communities have a presence on campus,” he said. “And it’s important to show the unity between these clubs too.”

The multicultural organizations are planning on hosting more collaborative events next semester.