Trine ‘cruise’ celebrates 50th International Night

For the 50th time, Trine University will celebrate the diverse cultures represented on its campus, with this year’s event adding fireworks, mocktails and pirates.

The university’s annual International Night, themed “The Trine Cruise,” will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14, in the Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center. All festivities are free and open to the public, with the exception of an optional paid dinner in Whitney Commons.

International Night opens with the “cruise” held in the University Center Mall. Nearly 50 “ports” filled with cultural music, food, exhibits and various activities will showcase more than 30 different countries represented at Trine University, including countries of alumni returning to their alma mater for the event. Activities will include caricatures, jewelry making, henna art, reiki Japanese massage, and booths where participants can take selfies while dressed in clothing from various countries.

“Pirates” will roam the mall during International Night, and those who attend will have the opportunity to watch the pirates “walk the plank” by dunking them at the dunk tank station on the University Center patio. Mocktails will be served in the mall during the event.

Dinner will be available from 5-6:30 p.m. in Whitney Commons at a price of $10 for community members and $5.50 for children younger than 10, featuring cuisine by Bon Appetit representing Japan, Latin America, Southeast Asia, China, Saudi Arabia, India and Thailand.

At 7 p.m., attendees are invited to sit back as the “cruise host” presents traditional and modern performances by students in the “cruise ship” auditorium, Fabiani Theatre, including demonstrations, dances and music from China, Japan, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and South Asia as well as “Ice Hockey Pride” by Trine’s ACHA Division 2 ice hockey team. Rupa Shanmugam, a Trine alumna originally from Malaysia who now serves as president of SoPark Corporation, a technology company based in New York, will speak.

Darrell Schoen, who served as director of international student services and associate dean of students at Tri-State University from 1988-1997, also will be present at the celebration to visit with international alumni.

The night will conclude with fireworks celebrating the Bengali and Nepali New Year, which is observed April 14 this year.

International Night enables students, faculty and staff from other nations to share their cultures with the Trine campus and local community. The event also provides an opportunity for all to experience and celebrate Trine’s growing international population and embrace its members as part of the community.

Photo: Yoshikazu Sakai, right, a Japanese exchange student at Trine University, examines items at a table hosted by Sandy Austin, left, of the Sticks and Stones store in Angola at last year’s International Night. This year’s event on April 14 will be Trine’s 50th International Night. (File photo by Dean Orewiler)