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by Ashley McNair, student writer

In an attempt to reconnect students with their home states, Megan Kaptik, the director of First-Year Programs, has planned a series of “Taste of Home” events. These events include food from the home states of the first-year students, and discussions about the food’s origins in order to give first-year students a chance to identify with other students, deal with possible homesickness, and share perspectives of the different regions of mainland. The first of the four events was held on Oct. 15 with a focus on the culture and foods of the Mid-West region.

At the event food was available to those with or without a Mid-Western connection. Big Kahuna Pizza supplied the notorious deep-dish style pizza, and Hole in the Wall supplied bratwursts—with toppings including pickles, tomatoes, and onion—and sauerkraut, both spot on with Mid-West flavor. Nearly 60 students from states such as Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa and Ohio showed up with Illinoisans outnumbering other states.

In discussion about Mid-Western customs, sports, and community, participants voiced their longings. The change in seasons was at the top of the list. In addition, many people chatted about winter sports such as snowboarding, ice-skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding during the winter months.

Tim Orser, a sophomore and Kansas native, gave a bit of insight to his Mid-Western culture: “In the Mid West there is a sense of relaxation and simplicity in everyday life. It is very suburban, and to people from a different area it might seem like that there is nothing to do because it is so rural. But it’s less stressful to create your own fun than going to a huge club in the middle of the city and dealing with traffic, taxis, and high costs of “going out” on the town. We have farm parties in huge fields, BBQs, and the Lake of Ozarks, which any native Mid-Westerner knows gets pretty crazy all summer long. My friends and I go on float trips on the Meramec River and have bonfires almost every weekend. After being gone for so long you really learn to appreciate the beauty of the Mid West.”

“ Taste of Home” is a pilot program, but don’t worry if you missed, it will be back in spring!

 
 

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