A new student organization focused on Polish culture will celebrate traditional food, music and history at events like sponsored dinners, embassy visits and general body meetings.
The Polish Culture Club, which was founded with 16 members earlier this semester, plans to host a Polish dinner at The Eatery at Pelham Commons, visit the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and host viewing parties for soccer games. The organization hosted its first general body meeting Tuesday, where students said the club will offer a place to share what they love about Polish traditions, like food, language and music, with GW’s campus at large.
The club meeting included pierogi and Polish cookies called Delicje, a Kahoot with Polish trivia and disco Polish music as students entered and exited the room in the University Student Center. Senior Savannah Gajda, the founder of the club, said she requested for the Office of Student Life to recognize the student organization last semester after she came up with an idea for a club that can celebrate Polish culture when she first arrived at GW during her freshman year.
“I am extremely proud that all these amazing people came together tonight and that we are able to celebrate Polish culture here at GW and foster community where we can really recognize this amazing heritage and share our traditions, cultures with everyone,” she said in an interview at the club’s general body meeting Tuesday.
Gajda said the club will serve a Polish dinner at an event with GW Dining later this spring, and she suggested staff to provide some of her favorite childhood dishes like bigos, pierogi, gołąbki and pączki. She said the club is in the early stages of planning to visit the Polish embassy and host a watch party with members for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“Our main objective is to foster community for students on campus, especially for students who are international students from Poland, who have Polish roots and for those who want to learn about culture and who love Polish culture,” she said. “This club is for everyone who’s interested in Poland and or has some sort of connection to Poland.”
Junior Olivia Dul, the vice president of outreach for the club, said she works on social media platforms, like the club’s Instagram, to promote the student organization with ideas like “Polish Word Wednesdays,” which highlights a different Polish word each week.
The organization chose this Wednesday’s word – Środa Popielcowa, which means “Ash Wednesday” – in honor of the first day of Lent, a season of Christian religious observance and fasting.
Dul, who comes from a Polish family, said becoming a member in the organization allowed her to connect with her Polish culture at GW after missing her community at home.
“I’m part of a very strong community back at home, and so once I returned back to GW’s campus, it was something that I was really missing,” she said. “And all the food that I brought back to D.C. from home, once that ran out, there was nowhere for me to go to really connect with my Polish culture.”
Blaze Grabowski, a freshman and member of the club, said he joined immediately after learning about the student organization on Instagram to find a way to get more involved with his Polish culture while away from home, where his family partakes in Polish traditions.
“I’m proud of my Polish heritage,” he said. “I’m not a Polish speaker, but there was always stuff my family did, and we’re definitely a very Polish family. And I wanted to get involved at school, and I saw the program and said ‘Oh, this is going to be great.”’
He said he is looking forward to connecting with Polish students on campus and other students who are interested in Polish culture.
“What I’m really looking forward to is meeting other Polish people on campus and where people were interested in Polish culture – just connecting with other people in the program and learning about Poland,” he said.
Henry Huvos contributed reporting.