The College of Idaho campus is home to a surprisingly robust international population, with 97 students from 46 foreign countries currently enrolled. This month, student groups including Senate and the International Student Organization are sharing the diverse talents and cultures present on campus by putting on the second annual Diversity Week, a series of nightly events which culminates Jan. 19 with the C of I Cultural Show. The Cultural Show will feature students performing poetry, music and dance from their homelands beginning at 7 p.m. in Jewett Auditorium. The show is free and open to the public – it is expected to run for two hours including an intermission with international refreshments.
“We believe celebrating diversity on campus is vital to the education of our students,” said Arnold Hernandez, director of multicultural affairs at C of I. “If you’ve never visited another country, this is your opportunity. The Cultural Show is a great way to see the differences and similarities between some of the world’s most interesting cultures.”
Countries represented by C of I students participating in the Cultural Show include China, Brazil, Bosnia, Mexico, Sri Lanka and multiple African, South American, Asian and Caribbean nations. International Student Organization president Chenjerai Simpson, who hails from the Caribbean island of Antigua, is excited to celebrate the College’s diversity not only with his classmates, but also with the Treasure Valley community.
“Educating people about cultural and global issues is the entire purpose of our organization,” said Simpson, a soccer and tennis player studying psychology and anthropology/sociology. “We’ve invited all of the schools in the Caldwell district to attend the Cultural Show, and we hope to promote understanding and awareness throughout the entire community.”
C of I junior Ixchel Luna, event coordinator for the ISO, has been pleased with the turnout and variety of events that have made Diversity Week a success so far. Programs have ranged in topic from anti-violence awareness to religious discussion to cultural celebrations with student clubs ALAS (Association for Latino Americano Students) and AFRO (African Americans, Friends, Relatives and Others).
“One of our duties as international students is to spread our culture with the people here in Idaho,” said Luna, a history major from Honduras who will perform a Panamanian dance at the Cultural Show. “But Diversity Week is about more than just international students. We’ve been able to have discussions about violence, discrimination and a lot of other topics here on campus, and it’s been great.”
For more information on how to attend and what to expect at Thursday’s Cultural Show, contact Arnold Hernandez at [email protected].
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.