Arts & Culture / Mosaic / January 28, 2009

Knox to go iGreen this weekend

If you enjoy exploring the cultures and traditions of nations around the world, sampling delicious exotic cuisine and learning about new ways to be more eco-friendly then the 28th annual International Fair (I-Fair) is the event for you.

The I-Fair will feature an International Food Buffet Lunch from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Seymour Union, a Parade of Flags and various performances from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. in Kresge Hall, and culturally themed educational booths from noon – 2 p.m. in Ford Center for the Fine Arts.

This year’s I-Fair theme is “iGreen: Sustainability in the Global World.” The inspiration for the theme came from discussions the International Club had about the environmental consciousness and conservation efforts in different parts of the world. Knox students who returned this term from studying abroad in Europe and East Asia had been struck by the multitude of recycling bin categories in their host countries.

“‘World Peace’ would have been a nice theme,” said International Club President Brian Zhang, who played an active role in organizing the I-Fair, “but this is something small that we can start with.”

The iGreen theme will raise awareness about conservation methods as well as demonstrating how different cultures deal with common world concerns such as environmentalism.

The clubs involved in the food fair will be making concentrated efforts to do everything possible to help conserve the environment. They will use less oil and more water in their cooking, and recyclable paper and ink for their printed media.

Helmut Mayer, director of Knox Dining Services, is taking an active role in the I-fair buffet this year. The dining staff is going to help clubs in purchasing ingredients and preparing the dishes they will serve. “In the past, students had to do most of the food preparation themselves,” said Zhang. “This will be a huge help.” Over 30 dishes will be served, each of which requires about three to four hours of preparation time.

This year’s featured musical group will be Funkadesi, a diverse Chicagoan band. Funkadesi was named the “Most Outstanding Band” by the Chicago Music Awards twice, was praised by Time Magazine, “and even caught the attention of [President] Barack Obama, who notes: ‘Funkadesi really knows how to get a crowd going. I can’t say enough how energizing this band is. There’s a lot of funk in that desi!’” (

Booking such an illustrious group was not an easy task. According to Zhang, the I-Fair planners had to stretch a $2,900 budget to cover the $2,000 food fair, $3,000 I-magazine, and $3,000 booking cost for Funkadesi. Dean of Students Xavier Romano, the Student Senate, the Green Committee, and the whole Knox community lent their support in procuring the extra funds.

Kaeli Winberg

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