Sigma Tau Delta brings Karneval to Pilot House

by | Feb 25, 2015

The event celebrated the myriad ways different cultures around the world observe the run up to Lent.

Last week students cutting through the Pilot House on their way to Subway found an unexpected colorful scene in Karneval, an event celebrating the myriad ways different cultures around the world observe the run up to Lent. The event was put on by the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ international English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, in collaboration with a host of other student groups and departments at UMSL. Festivities included a mask-making contest, photo booth and, of course, food.

Karneval at UMSL

UMSL student revelers dress up and pose during the university’s Karneval celebration last week. (Photo by Rob Sifford/The Current) (Click image to enlarge.)

The menu consisted of traditional Mardi Gras fare including muffuletta sandwiches, black-eyed pea casserole and beignets among other offerings.

Event attendee Tim Wombles, media producer for the College of Arts and Sciences, commented, “It’s always nice to be able to learn about other cultures, especially on a full stomach.”

As revelers constructed colorful masks out of beads and ate lunch, most were unaware how much work had gone into the experience. Sigma Tau Delta was the primary sponsor of the event, but it was planned in collaboration with the German Student Association, HISLA, Irish Studies, the Foreign Languages department, and the Anthropology Students Association.

The idea for the event came about last semester after Sigma Tau Delta collaborated with the German Student Association for an Oktoberfest event. Edwina Cooper, treasurer for Sigma Tau Delta, said they wanted to be even more inclusive for the spring event and Karneval was a natural choice because it is celebrated in so many places around the world.

Sigma Tau Delta President Kat Riddler said that the hardest part of the planning process was communicating between all the different organizations and making sure they were all on the same page. After months of planning and promotion the event was all set to take place the Monday before Fat Tuesday in the Pilot House. Then Sunday night brought with it a blanket of snow and a closed campus.

Cooper says that upon hearing about the snow her first thoughts were, “Yay, don’t have to get up,” followed by, “Oh no, what about Karneval?”

Karneval was quickly rescheduled and, with just a little bit of scrambling, the whole thing went off without a hitch.

Both Cooper and Sigma Tau Delta Vice President Liz Miller were quick to say that it was their organization’s president, Kat, who was most to thank for the event’s success.

“Kat did all the heavy lifting,” Cooper said.

“Literally,” Kat added. “Because the elevator was broken.”

But the members of Sigma Tau Delta can rest assured their efforts were well worth it. One guest, Eamonn Wall, Smurfit-Stone Corporation Professor of Irish Studies, went as far to say that “(Karneval) is the most inspiring event I’ve had the privilege of attending on campus in the past 10 years.”


This story was written by alumnus Ryan Krull, MFA 2014, a student support specialist who also teaches writing courses at UMSL.

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Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a second year student in the MFA program at UMSL. His fiction and journalism has appeared online and in print.
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