Students, faculty, friends and families filled the Malcolm Field Theatre for the International Student Club’s 17th annual Intercultural Night on Friday, March 16.
Intercultural Night is organized by the International Student Club in partnership with several other campus culture clubs. The night allows international students to share performances and clothing that represent their home countries.
Eighteen countries were represented in this year’s Intercultural Night, titled “What a Wonderful World.” The night featured several acts from both international and American students including songs, dances and instrumental music.
The students also participated in a fashion show, where students from each country walked the stage in their country’s traditional clothing. This gave a chance for students who were not performing to still represent their countries.
This year’s budget for Intercultural Night was $5,750 for costumes and technical support. The funding for Intercultural Night came from allocations from both student and private organizations such as Student Association, Valley Nights and Independent Bank, as well as the International Student Club’s funds.
International Student Advisor Charles “Pat” Shelley said both students and the public benefit from attending Intercultural Night.
“The sharing of cultures as represented by the diversity of our students is part of our education in and through the university,” Shelley said. “This includes not only the 18 different countries in this year’s program, but American students sharing their cultural diversity and talents as well.”
Shelley said he enjoys seeing how the international students come together at both the events and International Student Club meetings.
“My favorite part of working with international students is observing how naturally and well they interact with each other at our International Student Club meetings, at lunch and across campus,” Shelley said. “At a typical ISC meeting, we may have 40 students representing 12-15 different countries. At our meetings, we have mixer games, country presentations and announcements about other ways to get involved in campus life and community service.”
Thipsavanh Silaleoon, a third-year business student from Laos, joined three American students at Intercultural Night to perform a mash-up of a traditional Lao dance and a traditional American-style dance.
Caitlin Pieper, a third-year graphic design student and one of the American students in the dance, said they wanted to join Silaleoon to help show the audience Lao culture.
“We wanted to symbolize the friendship between the two countries,” Pieper said. “We wanted to help her represent Laos so everyone can learn more.”
Azaria Milton, a third-year creative writing student, joined her roommates to attend this year’s Intercultural Night.
“My roommates told me about how much they experienced it last year and how much they enjoyed it, and I decided to tag along,” Milton said. “I liked it. It was pretty cool.”
Sandra Lamarche, a fifth-year International Business student, also attended the event. Lamarche works in the Office of International & Advanced Studies and is an RA with the international students.
“I love my kids,” Lamarche said. “They’ve been working really hard for this. It’s a great moment to discover other cultures and what things make them special, and we love them.”