Culture Week highlights diversity

-Brett Schwickerath/TRUMPET

Students on Wartburg’s campus have been working to prepare the annual Culture Week, which will represent and introduce nearly 60 countries to the community.

The theme for this year’s Culture Show, #WeAreWartburg, follows suit with MLK week earlier this year.

Helen Leong, director of international student services, said Culture Week gives students the opportunity to share who they are with their classmates.

“When trying to come up with events, the international executive team and I think about what will be reflective of student interests,” Leong said.

The celebration of culture began on Sunday with Coffee and Teas from Around the World in the Vogel Library. Students were able to enjoy beverages from countries across the globe.

Monday night, students are invited to an international cooking demonstration at the faculty-in-resident apartment in Clinton Hall. The first of its kind, Ashley McHose will be helping students prepare a variety of international dishes.

“We will have a couple of featured international dishes. Whoever comes will prepare them and get the opportunity to sample them,” Leong said.

A faculty panel focusing on effective intercultural communication will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Whitehouse Business Center room 214.

Students, along with the public, are invited to listen to Brett Billet, professor of political science and coordinator of international relations, Shaheen Munir, professor of psychology, and Joyce Boss, professor of English and co-director of multicultural and diversity studies discuss this important issue.

Alejandro Salazar, the events coordinator for I-club, said the goal of the panel is to help people be more open minded.

Salazar said it helps people understand eachother better, whether people are international or not.

“Because of the present issues, it is a nice event to attend. It is good to get out of the bubble that we have and to just take time to think that there is more out there,” Salazar said.

Salazar emphasized the theme for Culture Week and said he thinks it is important for students to be involved.

“We all belong to this place. I feel like we all should feel responsible to be present,” Salazar said.

Culture Week ends with the Culture Show, which takes place on Friday in Neumann Auditorium, starting at 8 p.m.

Students are encouraged to make a one dollar donation to help fund the I-club and its future activities.

“The show is a culmination of our week and events,” Leong said.

“The background of the student really isn’t a determining factor for who gets to perform. It is really just students who are engaged, excited, and interested in performing for the show,” she said.

For the show to run smoothly, Leong said the organizers must work closely with Neumann crew and performers.

“Our Neumann crew always does a fantastic job of helping us pull everything together beautifully on the night of the event,” Leong said.

Leong said she likes to think each aspect of what we do during culture week is an act of intercultural communication and working together and really being part of the Wartburg community.

As the events coordinator, Salazar has worked closely with a variety of crews to ensure the success of Culture Week as a whole.

Salazar estimates there is at least 90 people assisting with the production of Culture Week in some way.

He said there were some issues faced to achieve all of the organization’s goals.

Salazar said it can be hard to balance people’s schedules with meetings and rehearsals and I-club found difficulty when trying to cover the costs of the events, but they have worked through it.

“I love working with people and pulling off events. The number of people planning to attend the show has increased since last year, so we really want people to appreciate what we are doing,” Salazar said.

Salazar said he believes people should realize the importance of the show.

“It is really hard for us to be away from where we are from,” Salazar said.

“We want to show the Wartburg community what we do and where we are from.”

Leong said the one thing she always hears is that the students involved in the show and activities wish more people were there.

“The students really want the opportunity to share a little bit about who they are with their classmates, faculty members, and advisors.

“It is always a wonderful opportunity for the community to see those special and unique aspects of the students,” Leong said.

Salazar is hopeful that in the coming years, other organizations are able to team up with I-club to make Culture Week a cumulative experience.

“The situation right now with politics and other issues pushes the I-club to start doing more activities so people can understand what is going on,” Salazar said.

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