On Thursday afternoon, students at Georgia Perimeter College's Newton campus were met with all things Greek as they filtered through the building atrium.
Dancers leaped to joyful Greek folk music, athletes ran a one-mile course and throughout the day speakers talked on the Greek cultural connections and origins of politics, theater, Olympics, libraries and the food-body connection.
Beans, fish, savory hunks of bread dipped into olive oil and fresh organic Greek salad donated by Crystal Organic Farm were served up to hungry students, faculty, and visitors alike. Triangles of flaky, honey-drenched baklava, accompanied by nuts, fruit and yogurt, were available to finish off the meal on a sweet note.
Connections: the Greeks - A World Odyssey was a first for the campus and the beginning of what organizers hoped would be an annual tradition.
"We're talking about all kinds of connections," said organizer Tom Amygdalitsis, a Greek native who hopes eventually to conduct a two-week trip for students to Greece. He wanted students to become aware of intercultural connections, interdisciplinary connection and the way that the world was becoming globalized.
"This being an election year, we wanted to connect the political year to the birthplace of democracy, Greece," he said. To that end, as part of the festival, there was an essay contest on why democracy was or was not the perfect form of government.
Student body vice president Gary Dawkins, 23, said he entered the essay contest and a poetry contest because he loved poetry and that winning the contest's cash prizes would help his financial situation as a newlywed.
He was a little disappointed at the festival's reception. "Honestly, I think the students aren't paying much attention," he said.
Michael Sanchez, 19, a first year student studying architecture, said he hadn't known about the event and was simply waiting for his ride, but that the food "smelled heavenly."
Amygdalitsis said he was satisfied with the turnout for the new event and hoped next year another organizer would examine a different culture's connections to our society.
Brenda Benefield, organizer and administrative secretary, said "The whole point is connecting us and making the world smaller."