Student Advisory Board prepares to launch International Week


Photo by Allison Xu

Senior Catherine Seeger and junior Niya Tripathi hang posters promoting International Week. The Student Advisory Board has also reached out to club leaders and staff, and created a morning announcement video to draw more interest in the event.

During the week of Feb. 27 to Mar. 3, the Student Advisory Board will hold International Week, with each day dedicated to showcasing a different cultural area. From Monday to Thursday (2/27-3/2), activities will be held in the student commons during lunch. On Friday (3/3), a half day, the culminating activity will be held in the auditorium after lunch.

The idea sprouted before Thanksgiving break, when the Student Advisory Board (SAB) began discussing the possibility of holding an International Week. Since those first discussions, the SAB has been actively working to put those ideas into action.

After planning out each day’s activities, the SAB has been focusing its efforts on outreach and communication with students.

“We’ve been emailing clubs and organizations, encouraging all students to participate. That’s our main goal. We’re trying to get the word out to get people to sign up, from every culture,” junior SAB member Niya Tripathi said.

Here is the breakdown of each day and its area of activities:

Monday (2/27): Food Day

Students will share their own native dishes and try those of other cultures in this potluck-style event. This day is dedicated to celebrating the diverse flavors the WJ community has to offer. For clubs participating on this day, the Student Advisory Board recommends small and portable food items, such as finger food, for ease of sharing and sampling.

Tuesday (2/28): Visual Arts Day

Paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and comics are some of the display art that you may see on Visual Arts Day. The Student Advisory Board invites students to explore the diverse range of styles, mediums and themes that represent the cultural richness and vibrant visual arts of the community. Artwork may be created by students or famous artists with credit, and the event is open for anyone to stop by and admire art.

Wednesday (3/1): Culture and Learning Day

On this day, students will turn back time and discover the rich heritage and interesting quirks of diverse cultures. Both educational and entertaining, Culture and Learning Day is dedicated to showcasing the unique and intriguing stories that make up the tapestry of the community. Students will learn about historical events, fascinating traditions and fun facts that define the diverse backgrounds of the other students around them.

Thursday (3/2): Linguistics Day

This is a day to recognize and appreciate the beauty of language and diversity. There are various opportunities for students to explore languages around the world, from learning how to write their names in different languages to conversing with other students in multiple languages in the More-Than-English Corner. This event is welcome to all language speakers, regardless of their foreign language proficiency.

Friday (3/3): Cultural Showcase

This day is dedicated to highlighting the musical, dance, theater and other performing arts talents of students, who will give cultural performances ranging from traditional folk dances to contemporary musical numbers. In the auditorium, the cultural showcase will also serve as a fashion show where students will display the fashion and traditional clothing of their culture.

The step team plans to perform at the cultural showcase. Their dance number for International Week is a call back to traditional step routines. “Step is a big part of culture at HBCUs so we’re trying to find steps that go back to those roots and were created in those sororities and fraternities,” sophomore Mwape Sokoni said.

The SAB has split its members into committee groups, each of which are assigned preparation tasks for a specific day. Senior SAB member Catherine Seeger is on the Culture and Learning Day committee group and reached out to both students and teachers about participating in the day’s activities.

SAB sponsor Allison Hoefling has been supervising students as they prepare for International Week. “I’m very excited. It’s the first time we’re doing the International Week. We’re a little nervous if we’ll get a turnout for each of the days and events we have planned, but we are optimistic and ready to go with it,” Hoefling said.

The main reason why the event was created was to celebrate cultures with joy and warmth. “I think it was very organic…we wanted something joyful. We often talk about, like the racist incident with Whitman, then we react and have a serious conversation but we need to have more joyful celebrations to show ourselves what an amazingly diverse community this already is…” Dr. Katharina Matro said.

Junior Mallory Striplin has been a key participant in the organization process. She is the voice in the promotional video in the announcements, has helped market the event and kept track of deadlines. “It took a total of six hours to put [the promotional video] together…we’re really hoping that spreads the word to clubs and students,” Striplin said.