Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day at Global Coffee Hour

Every year on March 17 people around the globe unite to celebrate the accomplishments of Ireland’s most well-respected, well-known and most influential saint, the great Saint Patrick. From the United States to Ireland itself, Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, notably parades, light up several nations with shamrocks, gold coin pots and the color green.


Initially beginning as a way to celebrate Saint Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland that introduced the Irish people to christianity, the celebration has blossomed into an event to secularly celebrate the entirety of Irish culture. This became especially important and popular as the Irish people immigrated to the United States and introduced some of their own culture and traditions to Americans.


My great grandparents on my grandmother’s side came from County Cork Ireland,” said Mary-Ellen McLean, administrative coordinator at the Office of Global Engagement. “My grandfather’s side hails from the Isle of Mull, Scotland. My family has always celebrated its Irish and Scottish heritage, especially through music and dance.” 


Along with many western European countries, the Irish are also known for their affinity for tea, however, they do not shy away from partaking in a nice hot mug of reinvigorating coffee with a slice of soda bread as well. 


This was the experience many had the pleasure of enjoying during last week’s St. Paddy’s Day Global Coffee Hour held in the Savitz Lounge of the Henry Student Center. Hosted by the Office of Global Engagements, students were invited to venture into a small piece of Irish culture right here on campus.


Taking place from 2 to 4 p.m., Global Coffee hours are the perfect opportunity to stop by, get some much needed relaxation and enjoy some warm coffee in the middle of the day. 


“The events tend to go very well and have a very positive atmosphere,” said Starr Sandt, sophomore psychology major. “With the music, snacks, and activities available, people often enjoyed themselves at Coffee Hour because it gave them a chance to relax in the midst of a busy schedule.” 

Irish flags and various shamrock decorations were laden all throughout the Savitz Lounge, creating an immediate potent atmosphere perfect for the celebration.


During the Global Coffee Hour, students enjoyed various treats, many of which being notable within Irish culture. Irish soda bread along with Irish tea and Irish butter. Snacks such as chips and cookies were also available at the event. Authentic Irish music soothed the ears as students enjoyed their tasty treats.


Many games were played at the celebration as well. Irish trivia, Kahoot and bingo were all enjoyable ways to bring people together and immerse them within the St. Patrick’s day celebration.


Students were enlightened by dozens of Irish words, phrases and terminology that were peppered all throughout St. Patrick’s Day themed crossword puzzles and bingo boards. 


“The students enjoyed a taste of Irish soda bread and playing Irish kahoot, which combined fun questions with historical information,” said McLean. “They seemed to also enjoy doing a challenging St. Patrick’s Day themed word search.”


Various Irish-themed trinkets and knick knacks were available at the event to observe and take back home. Pins, necklaces, shamrock charms and cards were available to anyone present.


“The most important goal of this event is to present different cultures to the Wilkes community,” said McLean. “In the St. Patrick’s Day event, the goal was to celebrate while teaching a little bit about the country of Ireland.” 


During St. Patrick celebrations, all types of people are welcome to dawn a silly green hat, not just those of Irish heritage.


“I think that St. Patrick’s Day, when properly celebrated, includes people of all backgrounds,” said Jonathan Kuiken, associate professor of history and director of the Honors and Scholars Programs. “I know it’s a bit of a cliche but the idea that ‘Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day’ hearkens to a deep ideal of the American immigrant experience.” 


It is always the priority of the Office of Global Engagement to introduce students to new cultures or aspects of culture that were previously unknown to many. A culturally rich and friendly Irish atmosphere along with games, snacks, coffee, music and other activities allowed for a fun, relaxing and educational St. Patrick’s Day experience.