By Sam Rabuck
A Caribbean steel drum band, calligraphy, origami and a silent auction were all featured at this week’s “What’s on Wednesday” in the MUB’s Union Court in the spirit of “International Education Week” on campus.
While hundreds of students were eating, doing homework and catching up with friends in the popular meeting place, the members of Mango Groove played their various steel drums while other members danced to the rhythm, bringing what the group’s director and performer Eric Krollner called a “flavor of the Caribbean” to Union Court.
Krollner described the instrument as fairly new, having evolved out of African and Caribbean drum origins. He estimated the drums became widely used about 60 years ago.
“[Steel drum music] has gone worldwide,” Krollner said. “There are steel bands in Japan, in Germany, Switzerland, you name the country—they’ve got steel bands now.”
For junior Ryan Driscoll, who sat at a table near the band setting his Fantasy Football lineup for the week, the music was a nice change of pace at Union Court.
“Normally, it’s just a lot of people talking and walking around and just doing their own thing with their friends,” Driscoll said. “Honestly, it is a nice change just to have something in the background for once.”
While the music played, many stopped by craft tables sponsored by Confucius Institute at UNH. Students and Union Court passersby were able to participate in a number of activities including a table at which students could have words transcribed into authentic Chinese calligraphy. Some students partook in the Henna tattoo table, and others made origami.
The event also featured a silent auction table sponsored by the Office of International Students and Scholars with proceeds benefiting the Syrian Refugee Fund. Bids for most items began at $5.
“I think in the end we all benefit,” said Thuy Nguyen, advisor to the UNH Office of International Students & Scholars. “When everybody has safety and food and shelter over their heads, we can all be in a better place.”
This is the first year such an auction has been held, but there were an estimated 40 items with bids on them as of Wednesday at around 1 p.m. The items included scarves, table runners, hand-made Egyptian perfume bottles, chains, coasters, wall hangings and plates, all of which were donated by faculty and staff members.
As for the event’s success, Nguyen felt that so far, things were going pretty well.
“It’s a new activity that we’re trying,” Nguyen said. “We’re trying to figure out a way to really bring awareness and attention to international education.”
Director of Commuter Services Curt Kenoyer indicated that this week’s “What’s on Wednesday” brought something a little different for students and created a nice ambiance in Union Court.
“Usually we have more singer-songwriter artists up there with guitars,” Kenoyer said. “So it’s definitely a much different kind of music event than we’re used to.”
The next “What’s on Wednesday” is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 10:30 a.m. featuring “Custom License Plates” in the MUB’s Union Court.