On Tuesday, November 21st, I arrived at the Universities at Shady Grove’s (USG) multipurpose room for a night of cultural exploration and cuisine. I first saw the event information on the Facebook page of the USG Office of Student Services and after confirming that I was available, I immediately RSVP’d and said a silent prayer hoping that spots were still open. My prayer was answered, and I had the fantastic opportunity of attending so now I wish to spread the good word about the event!
I was immediately interested in the event because I saw that it offered a seated Egyptian dining experience (free food=GOLD for a college student) and that it was hosted in partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. Which meant that the food was going to be prepared by the amazingly talented students of the program. In all my years at USG, the students in this program have hosted exceptional events so I was confident that skipping breakfast and lunch to able to cover the cost of parking at the event would be totally worth it. And boy oh boy did they go above and beyond for an evening in Egypt!
The other 100 attendees and I gathered in the multipurpose room and were greeted by the most beautifully decorated dining tables. We were seated promptly at 5:30 pm and the waitress assigned to my table immediately greeted us with a friendly welcome. I also received a parking validation, so the fears of my credit card being declined were alleviated. My waitress was eager to take my beverage order, and while I appreciated her enthusiasm, I had to request a moment to take a selfie.
After I got the necessary documenting (posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and group chats) of my attendance at the event taken care of so that my followers could live, I learned a bit more about what the night would entail. In addition to the seated Egyptian dining experience, there was going to be a presentation of Egypt’s rich history and culture by award-winning author and Chef Amy Riolo, dancing demonstrations and more. The event was also hosted in partnership with the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau and the USG Office of Student Services.
Throughout the delicious three course meal, Chef Amy Riolo and several representatives of the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau shared extraordinary stories and information about Egypt’s rich history. The attendees at my table paid keen attention to the information being provided while managing to savor the delicious flavors that most were having a hard time believing came from our very own students. A podcast of the event can be seen here, please be sure to check it out to learn some fascinating facts and below are a few photos of the meals that I managed to take before this heavenly goodness were devoured.
At the conclusion of the event, attendees were invited to participate in a silent raffle to help fundraise for students in the program. There was quite a variety of items available ranging from spa treatments to a basket filled with USG branded swag. I placed my bid on the item I wanted and continued to enjoy the remainder of the event which included energetic dance demonstrations. I eventually was the winning bidder for an adult coloring book and have successfully managed to color within the lines on two pages so far!
My evening in Egypt was genuinely fantastic. Not only was the event fun, but it was also very educational. I loved seeing the relationships being built amongst the attendees; the food was superb, the venue looked beautiful; the students in the UMES program excelled; the representatives from the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau enriched the minds of members of our community, and the staff of USG’s Office of Student Services pulled off another successful event. If you attended and would like to share your take on the event please be sure to comment below, like this post or share.