ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WLVT) - Freshmen at Muhlenberg College are the only full class on campus this semester. But some of those students got off campus this week and into downtown Allentown to try some new things.
"My topic has been for some years the role of food as a marker of immigrant communities," said Erika Sutherland, chair of the school's Department of Language, Literature, and Cultures.
She teaches a class called "Cuisine as Culture: Exploring Allentown's Hispanic Immigrant Communities."
"And here in Allentown with a gigunda Hispanic community -- very, very big and very very diverse, one of the most diverse in the country -- there's just a wealth of opportunities," she said.
Students on a walking tour visited some of the different dining spots for a taste of different cultures.
Sutherland says going downtown and experiencing it for yourself can reverse some common stigmas.
"There's this word out there that Allentown is scary and I don't think there's a whole lot of reality to back that up," she said. "I think it's just this weird thing that's out there and I've noticed it from our older students, I've noticed it from staff colleagues here at the college that would say 'I would never go down there' or 'I might go down for a show but I would never do anything else.'" That's just ridiculous.
"I would say parking can be difficult downtown, and driving can be chaotic downtown, but beyond that the values of going downtown, eating interesting food at affordable prices that's exactly what a college student needs."