The clatter of heels, distinctive conversations and smooth jazz swirled around Burt Kahn Court as empty bellies filed into the room ready to dine on November 2nd.
The Quinnipiac University International Business Society has hosted its annual dinner since 2000 to raise money for Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization dedicated to assist new arrivals in the United States.
The IB dinner served food inspired by places from around the world through local businesses such as Ixtapa Grille, Bangkok Boulevard and China Chef. Tickets were $8 per person, and the event raised just under $1000.
IBS President Joseph Coverly, junior international business and computer information systems double major, was fittingly the first speaker of the night. Coverly said that he organized the event with great hope as the organization more than 70 tickets.
“I truly believe I have one of the best electronic boards at Quinnipiac,” Coverly said. “I put them through the wringer and they came out on top.”
Coverly, a Navy veteran and co-manager of the students led On The Rock pub, added to run this event with his return, but not without the help of his friends.
“This dinner could have been a major stressor in my life,” Coverly said. “It was a joy to plan because my le-board had my back.”
After the event, the dean of the School of Business Holly Raider said that she is proud of her students because of nights like this.
“The best business people find the win-wins,” Raider said. “The only way you can do that is to understand people’s perspectives.”
Chris George, executive director of IRIS, spoke after Coverly in opening remarks. He educated the crowd about the work of the organization and the strong connections and relationships he has made. He put one of those connections in the spotlight as he invited guest speaker Bashir Watandost, a refugee from Afghanistan, who now works as an employment services specialist with IRIS.
In a moving story of leaving family and political suffering, Watandost left an impression on the crowd.
“I just want to say (the Americans), just think about the Afghans or the refugees, if you were in their shoes, how would you feel?” Watandost told the Chronicle. “I want to ask the Americans to help the refugees as much as you can.”
Watandost said he was forced out by the Taliban and had to leave his wife and family behind. Watandost emotionally described his new life for everyone to the crowd.
“I’m here and I’m an American,” Watandost said in his speech. “We are here doing great (work) for my people, for everyone, and we have people like Chris George to thank.”
After the loud applause, the moment everyone was waiting for finally arrived. It’s time to eat. There were more than 20 dishes lined up at each end of the court, giving attendees more than enough options to choose from.
Sophomore nursing major Isabella Chambers said she ate a little bit of everything, including some dishes she had never heard of.
“My favorite part was trying all the different foods,” Chambers said. “It was really cool, because there was some food that I had never eaten before.”
The night saw many unique cuisines. Chambers said she tried a samosa for the first time, a sweet, deep-fried, cone-shaped appetizer from Cumin India in Hamden. But there was another component—The Irish step dance.
As an annual tradition, IBS invites the Quinnipiac Irish dance team to perform during dinner. Chambers said she was amazed at what the club can do on the ground.
“It looks like they were flying through the air,” Chambers said. “They had so much ability, and it was kind of crazy to see how much they could do in such a short time.”
Mohammad Elahee, international business professor and IBS advisor, said the purpose of this event was to create awareness about international issues, cultures and the world outside of the United States through cuisine.
“Everything is global,” Elahee said. “Every business is an international business. Our students must know how to compete against competitions coming from other countries.”
Elahee said that it is these types of programs that strengthen the global perspectives of students when they enter the future of business.
“This shows that our students are engaged global citizens and care about society,” Elahee said. “Quinnipiac (helps) students become a better person.”
Raider said that these types of events like this improve education for students.
“I think one of the things that gets in the way of good ideas … is the inability to take other people’s perspectives,” Raider told the Chronicle. “It’s when you can see the world through multiple alternative lenses that new and different solutions can present themselves.