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Monday, November 19, 2007

Fall fun at annual cookout at Chancellor’s Residence

By Hannah Simpson

As two campfires burned in concrete block pits, 18 Honors College students surrounded the fires helping UNC Pembroke’s international students make s’mores. 

They plunged unsuspecting marshmallows on the end of straightened coat hangers and held them lazily over the fire. Laughter erupted when one student decided to smoke his chicken.

S’mores, a seasonal favorite, are toasted over an open campfire.

S’mores, a seasonal favorite, are toasted over an open campfire.

Black Line

On October 29, the backyard of Chancellor Allen C. and wife Barbara Meadors’ home filled up with students and faculty from the Esther C. Maynor Honors College and International Programs for the annual cookout. As customary, the patio and yard were set up like a carnival, providing entertainment and food for the mingling crowd.

This year was particularly entertaining, however, if only because the number of honors students far exceeded last year, adding a lot more participation.

Bobbing for apples and corn shucking were back by popular demand, while a game of trivia for prizes brought out competitive natures.

Mrs. Meadors took part in every event, making sure every student had a chance to bob for apples and shuck corn, before entertaining students with a game of trivia.

“What is the country best known for movie going?” asked Barbara Meadors.

“India!” cried a freshman for the fourth time. A moan went up from the students as they teased him.

“Correct!” Mrs. Meadors said, instantly turning the moaning into laughter and cheers.

Xing Zhang, a Chinese student, with hostess Barbara Meadors shelling corn

Xing Zhang, a Chinese student, with hostess Barbara Meadors shelling corn

Black Line

“Nice man-purse!” one student called from the back, as the winner was handed a UNCP drawstring bag as his prize.
 
The cookout is always nice to attend to mingle with international students. Most often, foreign students live off-campus, making it difficult to even meet with them. However, the cookout offers ample opportunity.

I found myself standing in line for burgers, next to international Professor Vadim Zyubanov, from Russia (Tomsk State Pedagogical University), who is teaching for a semester in the language department.

Because the line was so long, we were able to strike up a conversation about the differences in education systems and lifestyles. He was also able to ask me questions concerning traditions.

What do Americans do for Halloween? Prof. Zyubanov asked.

I mentioned trick-or-treating and costumes.

So, Americans don’t do anything else?

No.

Nothing at all that maybe other people don’t hear about?

What have you heard?

He shrugged.

He never did tell me what “tradition” he was so curious about, if any.

However, thoughts of Halloween were soon put to rest after a taste of the wonderful food.

As the learning part of the night (for no school function is truly safe from a little bit of learning), the caterers cooked food in ways that would teach the students about local culture, what Mrs. Meadors called, “Daniel Boone style.”

The cornbread was made from real corn and the burgers were made from venison (cue the Bambi jokes). These were complimented with seasoned potatoes, vegetables, soup, an assortment of candy apples and hot apple cider.

As the party drew to a close, students and faculty left in two’s and three’s with armfuls of chocolate bars and candy apples, eagerly anticipating next year’s event and all the laughter to be had with it.

*   *   *

Offering a personal look at the annual Honors-International Backyard Cookout at the Chancellor’s Residence is Hannah Simpson, a student in the Esther C. Maynor Honors College. She also writes for The Pine Needle student newspaper.

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