Cultural awareness creates buzz on front campus
Ava Leone | Web Content Editor | Oct. 30, 2019
International flags and culturally decorated tables lined the walkways of front campus, while live music blared over students joined together to celebrate GC’s annual international week.
The event, hosted by the International club, included a forum Wednesday Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. for students to learn about various opportunities, cultures and lifestyles abroad from students native to diverse countries like Moldova and Zimbabwe.
The International club also provided movie nights, Monday – Friday at 6 p.m. in Peabody auditorium, in which a different language or culture was represented each night by a select film.
“Our hope is for GC students to explore the diversity here on campus and learn about global issues and organizations that are supported by many of our student groups, promoting change around the world,” said Jessie Carpenter, a senior environmental science major and international club president.
International club hosted a talent show, flag presentations and swag giveaways throughout the festival. Other organizations like the Sustainability Council, Campus Kitchen, Phi Kappa Phi and Spanish Club also promoted their own global initiatives at tables during the event.
“This year, International club collaborated with multiple other organizations like SGA, who hosted an international coffee table,” said Carpenter. “And Gamma Sigma Sigma, who promoted for Amnesty International by selling S’mores.”
According to International Education Week 2019’s website, this week marks the annual recognition of international education worldwide. GC’s festival allows students from out-of-country areas to share their personal takes on culture from their hometowns to celebrate this nationally recognized week.
“I’m always excited every year for international fest because I get to dress up,” said Mambwe Mutiti, a senior public health major from Zambia. “I tend to save my traditional materials for special occasions. They’re a little bit pricey, so I like to wear them on special days.”
Mutiti said she looked forward to informing others about her traditional clothes and talking with different accents between the two languages she fluently speaks—English and Bemba. Bemba is the main language spoken in Zambia.
In previous years, GC branched out to local elementary schools and community members, but this year, while the event was open to the public, the event focused more on intrapersonal relationships between students.
“I think that International Fest will be a very fun event,” said Artiom Savastin, a junior international economics major. “I will have my table with my country, Republic of Moldova, where you can not only get to know where it is on the map, its history and traditions but win some souvenirs from my country.”
Savastin hoped sharing his culture with local students will help him and others understand the similarities and differences between countries. He also used the event to reduce homesick feelings.
“This event is a great possibility for me to feel myself back at home,” said Savastin. “I once again unite with my own culture and acknowledge the fact that even if I am in the U.S., it is important to hold on to your roots and not forget who you are and where you are from.”
Samantha Evans, a senior psychology major from Great Britain, said she loves the variety of people who attend International club and looked forward to speaking with new students.
“It’s nice having people outside of the international students to be able to come in, and we will talk and everything,” said Evans. “Obviously there’s things we don’t know about America that obviously you guys do. It’s really nice to kinda of have all of a mix of different kinds of people.”
Evans provided flashcards with location names on them to help students correctly pronounce cities and towns in Great Britain.
Also, the first 100 students who attended the event received a free t-shirt which could be signed by the different represented countries. International club plans to host the event again in October next year.