ECU News Services
Blair Fuller, president of ECU's Multicultural Student Nursing Association, spearheaded the production of a cookbook that highlights cultural diversity within the College of Nursing. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)
Student nursing association highlights culture, cuisine with new cookbook
By Crystal Baity
This fall, East Carolina University nursing students will share a meal and learn something about each other at the same time.
The Multicultural Student Nursing Association will host a potluck dinner in October. The dishes will come from the association’s first cookbook, printed in the spring to raise funds for the group.
MSNA began as small group of black nursing students in 2004 and has grown to nearly 100 nursing and pre-nursing students from many ethnic backgrounds, said Dr. Walter Houston, faculty adviser for MSNA and director of the Student Development and Counseling Center in the College of Nursing.
The group is led by Blair Fuller, a senior from Whitehouse Station, N.J., who carried on the idea for the cookbook from former president and ECU graduate Jonathan Shaw.
“I had an idea of putting people’s stories in it, to include different cultures and how it relates to food,” Fuller said.
The planned potluck will celebrate the diversity within the college.
A poppyseed bread recipe from the nursing student association cookbook, along with a sample of the bread, is shown above.
“We will share food and talk about culture and where foods come from,” she said. “We thought it would be a good way to get together because people will come when there’s food.”
Cookbook contributors include students, faculty and staff who have shared 43 favorite recipes for appetizers, side and main dishes, salads, and desserts ranging from challa bread to Cuban bean stew to matrimonial cookie bars.
Some recipes include its origin and what it means to the person, such as favorite comfort foods to a traditional Thanksgiving dish. The cookbook also includes fun facts about different cultures and food.
Excellent leadership has improved the association’s visibility and service to the college and community, Houston said.
“As faculty advisor from the beginning, I have seen wonderful growth and outreach that improves the educational experience for all College of Nursing students,” Houston said.
Anyone can join, Fuller said. “It is an organization where all cultures and diversities can get together and learn from each other so that we can all become culturally competent nurses,” she said.
MSNA students meet monthly. This semester, they will have the chaplain and a Spanish interpreter from Pitt County Memorial Hospital speak about their services and interaction with nurses, Fuller said.
“I think it is important for different races, ethnicities, cultures and religions to come together so that people are more open to different opinions and ways of living. Nurses need to be educated on different cultures so that they know how to react to different patient’s situations,” Fuller said.
Knowing where patients are from and cultural differences that may exist will help nurses provide better care in a clinical setting, she said.
To order a cookbook, which costs $10, send an email to
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