Burgburst 2023: A Cultural Celebration Amid Challenging Times

By Brandon Fey, Staff Writer

Burgburst, the highly-anticipated Gettysburg College tradition in which the student body shares its diverse cultural heritage through food, music, and community, took place in the College Union Building (CUB) ballroom on Saturday, Dec. 2nd, from 5:00-7:30 pm.

The event featured 13 campus cultural organizations that provided food to the plethora of students and faculty members in attendance. Among them were: TUG (Things Ukrainian at Gettysburg), The German Club, The Muslim Student Association, The African Student Association, The Black Student Union, Hillel, The Butterfly Coalition, The Latin American Student Association, The International Club (Featuring Bengalis), The South Asian Network for Global Awareness and Multiculturalism (SANGAM), The Japanese Culture Club, The Vietnamese Student Association and The Chinese Student and Scholar Association.

Booths set up with food from each Cultural Club. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Booths set up with food from each Cultural Club. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Among those representing the Jewish student organization Hillel was Marisa Conners ’26. She shared her take on cultural expression on campus, commenting, “As someone who didn’t have much of a religious or cultural connection to Judaism before coming to college, joining the Hillel Executive Board this year has allowed me to learn more about my own background and help share it with others. Cooking with my fellow board members for Burgburst was a great experience and I’m very proud of how it came together. I hope you enjoyed our food!”

The great diversity in vendors attracted many students eager to sample new dishes from around the world. John Knowles ’26 shared his thoughts on the program saying, “Burgburst is very meaningful to me because it offers the chance to experience many cultures that are different from my own. Sharing food is a great way to show appreciation for each other’s cultures and embrace our strengths.”

Many participants came dressed in the traditional garb of their native countries, sparking conversations about regional cultures and traditions. One such ambassador was Meem Khan ’24, who was representing her native country Bangladesh.

“It kind of gives you a sense of home because you get to wear your traditional clothes and you get a feeling of it’s like the whole world in a little bowl, which is wonderful,” Khan said. “It’s good because it helps you get to know other cultures by sharing food, music and dance.”

Also among the attendees was Gettysburg College President Bob Iuliano. He offered some comments about the campus tradition, sharing, “I think this is such a wonderful celebration, bringing the community together but also recognizing the remarkable number of places from which our students come—and boy it’s a full house tonight!”

After the food fair, the flag walk began on the stage of the ballroom. During this part of the event, Gettysburg’s international students paraded across the stage carrying their national flags.

The Flag Walk at Burgburst 2023. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

The Flag Walk at Burgburst 2023. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

This featured representatives were from Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, India, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Tanzania, Turkey, The United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Ratul Pradhan '25 performing with ISS Director Brad Lancaster. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Ratul Pradhan ’25 performing with ISS Director Brad Lancaster. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

The final portion of Burgburst was the musical performances from around the world, hosted by Rachel Nguyen ’26 and Bishruti Rijal ’26. The first act was a Turkish rock ballad sung by Veysel Yilmaz ’24, followed by a group hip-hop dance by the Gettysburg Bomb Squad, Peruvian songs by Wilder Condori Obregon ’25 and Nepali music by Ratul Pradhan ’25.

Pradhan was then accompanied by the Director of International Student Services Brad Lancaster for a joint performance. Lancaster explained that in light of the profound recent global strife, he would be singing a song in lieu of his usual humorous routine as a symbolic call for unity and peace. With Ratul playing guitar, Lancaster gave a solemn rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon to a sea of waving cell phone lights.

Additional performances included a group dance by Vibe, and the Vietnamese song “Love in Rain” was sung by Thanh Vo ’25 and Nguyen on piano. Adhara Ayndrila ’27 performed a traditional Bangladeshi dance with a modern twist, followed by a group called 6 Chu Bo Doi (6 Soldiers) who sang a collection of Vietnamese love songs. Then the group Gbaes performed a dance, succeeded by Jerry Kulah ’26 who read a poem titled “Together” about human unity. The final acts included a rap called “Reach for the Stars,” which was written and performed by Khanh Nguyen ’24, and a duo dance by Hillary Le ’26 and Mark Li ’24.

The program concluded with a recognition of those who contributed to the event and a final recognition of all the countries and cultures represented. In an increasingly violent and hateful world, Burgburst remained a positive expression of peace, understanding and celebration.

The various flags circling with Ballroom along with tents filled with food made by the participating cultural clubs. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

The various flags circling with Ballroom along with tents filled with food made by the participating cultural clubs. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Bomb Squad performing at Burgburst 2023. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Bomb Squad performing at Burgburst 2023. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Audience members shining their cell phone lights during a performance. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

Audience members shining their cell phone lights during a performance. (Photo Abror Niyazmetov/The Gettysburgian)

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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