The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences held its first ever International Week, a collection of events focused on diversity and global thinking from Feb. 27 to March 3.
International Week occurred across campus as several organizations hosted events as part of the overarching week. These individual events included environmental documentary screenings, study abroad panels and coffee nights.
The largest event was the kickoff: Cultural Explosion, a performance by diverse student groups to showcase unique talent and celebrate diversity on campus. Cultural Explosion was hosted by BSOS Dean’s Student Advisory Council and Global Communities Student Association, a living learning community that focuses on diversity.
The idea for BSOS International Week was conceived last year in a DSAC class when senior African-American studies major Rick Tagne-Teta realized he wanted to better celebrate diversity on campus.
“My idea was just trying to celebrate the fact that we have so much culture on campus,” Tagne-Teta said.
Tagne-Teta mentioned his vision to fellow DSAC members Nathaniel Zumbach and David Falvo in fall 2016. Zumbach and Falvo became instrumental in the execution of International Week.
Falvo, a senior psychology major, took charge of funding for the event and planning the kickoff Cultural Explosion performance. Cultural Explosion is an event that’s been hosted by Global Communities since 1992 as a showcase of international talents. This year, DSAC joined with Global Communities to make Cultural Explosion a major part of International Week.
“Overall, I was so pleased, and so taken away by how talented those performers were and how talented our community is,” Falvo said.
Despite the night’s happy ending, there was a hiccup along the way. DSAC received funding through both Pepsi and Student Entertainment Events, which are both run through the Stamp Student Union. But Stamp mixed up where which funds were allocated, which rendered the budget for International Week totally frozen until Stamp could clear up the issues.
Zumbach, a junior finance and economics major, headed marketing and co-sponsor coordination or bringing together event hosts.
Partnering groups included the Student Government Association, Arabic Flagship Program and many others.
Organizers decided early on that instead of asking campus groups to join and telling them what to host, they would let the groups bring their own event to the table.
One such event was a screening of “Years of Living Dangerously: Carbon Pricing and Divestment as Market Solutions,” a documentary about the global effects of climate change. After the screening was a short discussion with public health professor Sacoby Wilson, who specializes in environmental justice and health.
The screening was hosted by the Student Sustainability Committee, part of SGA.
The event had five attendees. Samantha Francis, a presenter at the event and junior environmental science and technology major, blamed the turnout on a lack of outreach.
Cole McCarren, senior geography major, attended the screening. He is part of several environmental groups on campus.
“Every time I learn more about environmental issues I find more and more that everything is so much more interconnected,” McCarren said. “There’s so many issues that affect people you would never even expect. People you’ll never talk to are being affected by your carbon emissions.”
SSC’s environmental screening was just one of many events that were part of International Week. But overall, organizers were happy with this year’s outcome and excited for the future.
“I just hope that [International Week] continues,” Falvo said. “I think it’s important for this community to acknowledge the different groups on campus.”