The Gallagher Center in collaboration with ethnic groups on campus —including the International Office, the Center for Diversity and Community, Foreign Language departments, African Student Association, etc. — are helping USD celebrate International Education Week (IEW) during the week of Nov. 16-20. The celebration will include both in-person and virtual events.
IEW is a national initiative that takes place at institutions all over the United States to spread awareness on the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, Virginija Wilcox, director of the Gallagher Center, said.
This year with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, Wilcox said she and the other organizers of IEW had to rethink activities that would comply with these health restrictions.
Many of the events have been moved online or have been replaced by a virtual alternative that will go live on the Gallagher center Facebook page.
Some of the events available to USD students and staff for IEW include a gallery walk in the MUC of photos from past students’ experiences abroad, online cooking demonstrations, Facebook lives about future faculty-led trips, henna, global trivia night, international instrument showcases and virtual reality immersive experiences.
One of the groups that the Gallagher Center partnered with to execute IEW was the International Office. Susan Hackemer, the director of the International Office, said her office’s main goal is to spread awareness about the international students on campus at USD, whereas the Gallagher Center’s goal is to spread awareness about all the ways to expand your education by studying abroad.
“One of the things that we’re trying to do is fill the giant display case in Patterson Hall that has been empty for decades with traditional clothing,” Hackemer said. “We’ve asked our international students to share traditional clothing and other artifacts that they might want to display. We hope to make a pretty cool display where you will be able to see the culture of our international students.”
Both Hackemer and Wilcox said they want students and staff to realize that IEW is more than just trying to convince students to study abroad.
“We live in a global society, but when we are focused on our day-to-day work and our day-to-day studies, it’s easy to sometimes forget how we fit into the bigger picture,” Hackemer said. “(IEW) is an opportunity to kind of pull us back out a little bit and for us to remember that we may be sitting in class with somebody who has an entirely different perspective and culture than us.”
With the uncertainty that 2020 has brought for many activities and events on campus at USD, Wilcox is grateful to be able to continue with the IEW celebrations.
“Although a lot of things were different this semester, we hope this event will make people hopeful about next semester and next year,” Wilcox said. “We have been able to assimilate and adapt in a difficult climate and the fact that IEW is happening, and we have such rich programming is evidence to our resilience as a pack.”