Diversity Here to Stay on UA Campus
By Juan Holmes
Spring Semester is winding down and finals are quickly approaching. Tensions run high and are fueled by sugar-based energy drinks and “Club Mullins” parties.
ASG had their elections and Friday Night Live threw their last Friday celebration for the year.
Even though the semester is coming to a close, the International Student Organization rocked the house this weekend with their annual banquet, which hosted more than 110 performers from more than 30 countries.
Chancellor Gearhart spoke about the international student body and how they are an integral part of the Razorback family, and shared his vision of making the university a more diverse place in the future. This year’s banquet shows just how diverse our campus has become in the past several years. We are witnessing an explosion of diversity through international organizations such as Spring International, Global Campus and Holcombe Hall living and learning community. There are dozens of other RSOs that represent the plethora of nations represented on campus.
This university is growing for the better and it looks like there is no slowing down with record enrollment for next fall. Programs such as Cross Cultural mentors place American students with newly arrived internationals to show them the ropes around campus and the city. The expansion of the Multicultural Center is a response to such a growth in the international student body.
Events such as the International Carnival were a success in bringing local and international students together, so that they could learn about different cultures.
The newly created Office of Latino Academic Advancement and Community Relations works on recruitment and retention on the ever-growing Hispanic population on campus.
All this shows that the university is moving in the right direction, but despite this rapid growth we could do even more to promote cultural diversity on campus.
ASG President Tori Pohlner plans to up the ante next year by working with the Director of Academic Affairs and the ASG Treasurer to find funding for an international student scholarship. Half of the funds would go towards bringing an international student to campus while the other half would be to send a UA student abroad.
President Mohammed Boudhoum and Vice President Danilo Tchoupe of the International Students Organization want to expand the scope and range of ISO to bring more American students to international events. President of Holcombe Hall Bonifacio Lopez wants Holcombe hall to coordinate more events such as their famous Geography Series, which exhibits a country and allows an international student to speak about it.
He also wants more exposure on campus of the dorm, and plans to work with RIC to ensure that Holcombe is one of the best places to live on campus, whether you are from Bangladesh or Bald knob, Ark.
President of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association Mengjiao Liao wants to increase the number of language partners and international student orientation mentors. Language partners allow domestic students taking foreign language classes to pair up with an international student that speaks that language, allowsing both students to practice their linguistic skills. International student orientation mentors work with incoming international students to help them move in and adjust to campus life.
As UA students, we should all benefit from being more actively involved in the international scene here on campus. We can have a truly enjoyable experience meeting others that can provide networking opportunities from all over the world without leaving home. It goes without saying that a student body that is culturally and ethnically diverse leads to a greater understanding of the world outside of the classroom. In the rapidly growing, competitive world we live in, learning more languages and cultures is becoming more and more crucial to maintaining the edge we all need to be successful in our careers.
Juan Holmes is an English and creative writing major, and is a Traveler columnist.
His column appears every other Wednesday.