Crawfish Boil brings Luther community together


Luther students and community members enjoy the crawfish boil event, Tuesday, September 13, on Bentdahl Commons. Photo courtesy of Bao Ngyuen (‘26)

On Tuesday, September 13, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer and Assistant to the President for Community Engagement Robert Clay led a “crawfish boil”––an event named after a popular dish that combines Southern and Nordic traditions. The event began at 5:30 p.m., as the sun began to set on Bentdahl Commons. 


At the start of the event, Clay gave a presentation about the crawfish boil, advocating for the campus to celebrate diversity and inclusion. 


“My inspiration behind this event was to find a way to introduce myself to the campus but also [to] bring together the community to celebrate the diversity that is within,” Clay said. “I think we don’t spend enough time together, learning from each other’s diversity that’s represented here, and so this is the opportunity to start that communication.”


After the speech, people gathered in a line wrapping around the intersecting paths of the Bentdahl archways, waiting to be served. Some event-goers, like Karson Trujillo (‘26), appreciated both the food and spirit of the crawfish boil. 


“I think for a lot of people, [this event] exposes us to new foods that we probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise,” Trujillo said. “It builds a stronger community, trying new things together.”


Luther has many international students, representing nearly 70 countries. According to Clay, the event was an important moment to highlight and celebrate the different backgrounds that are united on campus. 


“It’s important to celebrate the diversity of our campus because it’s really what makes us richest as a college,” Clay said. “With the mission that speaks to social justice and that encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion, I think it’s important to have events like this—that remind us of who we are, where we come from, and where we can go.”


With many upcoming events like the crawfish boil that celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion, Clay hopes the wide varieties of identities on campus will be recognized and appreciated. Clay said that Luther plans to promote upcoming cultural heritage months, to continue celebrating diversity in the community.


“We [decided] to celebrate the contributions, customs, and culture of various demographics of folks here in the United States and globally,” Clay said.“Starting on Thursday will be Hispanic Heritage month. Then, we will also continue the celebration with LGBTQ+ history month, [a] MLK celebration, along with Black History, Women’s History and Pacific Heritage months, and so many others.”


With Hispanic Heritage month underway, Luther has planned a day of film, food, music. On Wednesday, September 21, the Luther community enjoyed music and vendors on Bentdahl Commons, watched various documentaries and films, and celebrated the legacy of Hispanic culture. Clay said events like these are designed to recognize diversity on campus, and to make sure everyone feels welcome. 


“It’s about beginning to show people, [to] see themselves reflected,” Clay said. “And also to see themselves, more than what [they] appear to be, through intersectionality.”