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Pair Up Program pumpkin carving is a smash hit

(Photo Courtesy Kyra Barry) “Pictures of the event’s carved pumpkins”

Kyra Barry
Connector Editor

Friday, October 21st, at UCrossing 242 from 4pm to 5:30 pm, the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Pair Up Program held a pumpkin carving event open to all students. Many international students attending had never carved a pumpkin before this event. Students get a taste of American culture in the guts of a carved pumpkin, and in the designs made on the orange rind. It’s also a good way to make and hang out with friends. There was a costume contest aspect, but students were more interested in carving pumpkins than carving out time to dress up.

Daniela Salinas, junior applied biomedical sciences major and OMA ambassador, organized this year’s pumpkin carving event. “I just make sure that everything is set up right before the meeting, clean up after, write emails to let people know that the event is coming.”

“This is the October Pair Up meeting. Because, you know, October is kind of like the spooky month because of Halloween and things like that, we decided you know what something that’s very like Halloween is pumpkin carving, so we decided to just do that. Pumpkin carving is pretty simple, really easy and I feel like everyone can take part in the activity.”

Maria McDuffie Clark, the assistant director of Multicultural Affairs, works mostly with international students and helped Salinas put on the event. “I think we had, you know about 30 pumpkins and all the pumpkins are basically carved, so I’d say that’s a good turn out too.”

Clark said it wasn’t difficult getting pumpkins for the event. “We have really good partners and relationships that were built beforehand with getting pumpkins for students. So Farmer Dave’s, shout out to him, they love to give pumpkins that are sugar pumpkins available for students, specifically international students here studying, a chance to carve. So they gave me a really great deal, said ‘how many pumpkins do you need?’ Even during the pumpkin shortage. It was a really good time.”

Anshel Isles, senior liberal arts major, concentration in health sciences and disability studies, said “I heard about this event form a friend that I met. I thought this was a good event, just to meet new people and to celebrate the fall. It was a good way for everyone to come together and have a good time.” Overall, Isles said “I had fun.” His pumpkin was carved so that it looked like it throwing up the guts that he had scooped out prior to carving.

With thirty pumpkins to carve, students showed variety and creativity with the designs they carved. Some students even carved two, and at the end everyone was able to take home their pumpkin. About the Pair Up Program itself, Clark said, “It’s a buddy program so people are paired with an American student and two international students, and so it’s all for new international students to get assimilated to American culture. One of which being pumpkin carving, which is uniquely American.” For many international students attending the event, this is their first time carving pumpkins. For Salinas, this was her second time, having carved a pumpkin at last year’s event. This year, she carved two. Outside of the event, Salinas said about pumpkin carving as an activity, “I would 100% recommend it. Really fun, really easy, really simple and you can get really creative with it if you want.”


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