On Sunday, 13 September the Global Business and Culture Club (GBCC) wrapped up One Darden Week with a first-ever virtual Global Food Festival. GBCC turned one of Darden’s largest community gatherings each year into a new, online format and delivered a virtual program as engaging and dynamic as ever. Ann Joseph, GBCC president, shares how the GBCC board members enthusiastically took on the challenge, added unique twists to the event and delivered a successful virtual Global Food Festival: 

Our board has been planning and pivoting the programming for the Global Food Festival over the last couple of months. We realized that a virtual edition, although not ideal, can actually further express the club’s mission of creating opportunities for more global awareness and engagement. We led with our mission and made two significant changes: we planned for a unique global twist to cooking showcases and promoted more diverse regional entertainment.

Ann Joseph, GBCC president, at the world’s highest Starbucks location in Taipei, Taiwan

We offered each cooking team an option to create a fusion with another region’s cuisine. We also connected the cooking team with a Darden student from that region as a ‘cuisine consultant’ to virtually advise the team to create a successful cuisine fusion. We were pleased to observe that this global fusion led to active engagement among participants in each cooking team’s breakout room. We received an overwhelming response for performances from students interested in showcasing unique aspects of their region. The performances ranged from sharing about regional clothing in Ghana to playing Irish music to socially distant dancing from cultures across the globe. We were impressed with the talent of our Darden community, and we look forward to what’s in store for the Darden Talent Show!

I’m personally incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with my diverse GBCC board members. In the midst of peak recruiting, they poured a lot of effort in to make this event a success. We already have some exciting plans for the rest of the fall semester, which we hope to broadcast in the coming weeks.

Check out the digital archive of Global Food Festival recordings and photos here!