Weeklong cultural festivities keep spirit of Unity Days alive

by Amber B. Carter

Rider’s celebration of diversity and difference will continue where Unity Days left off as the university’s annual International Week begins today.

Started by Dr. Peter Aberger and Dr. Ludmila Schmitt of the Foreign Language and Literature Department, International Week has been a Rider tradition for about 20 years.

This year the celebration will run until Friday, Oct. 24.

“International Week is a week to create awareness across campus of all the multiplicity of opportunities for students to be involved and engaged with the world through things like study abroad,” said Dr. Linda Materna, chairperson for the Foreign Language and Literature Department and director of the Center for International Education. “And also to open their eyes to things they can do here in the United States with regards to different cultures and ethnicities.”

Events of International Week include showing foreign films, bringing in speakers, having student study abroad panels and hosting international business, foods and bands.

This year, International Week has been moved from the spring to the fall so it is more convenient for students. Many students were not able to attend the various events last year because it was at the end of the academic year.

International Week will be geared toward the freshmen this year as Rider undertakes a new project called the “Internationalization Initiation.”

“Internationalization Initiation is a five-year plan to infuse international events, topics, issues and sensibilities into the entire university, whether it be a major or minor, getting more students to study abroad, getting more international students here, or more service learning trips,” Materna said. “With that idea, the Center for International Education was created a month ago.”

The center is another tool for diversifying Rider’s campus in addition to the new World Resources Center, Unity Days and various service learning trips and community service.

The center is adding the international and global piece to the Rider puzzle.

“As you know, the world is so interconnected today and President [Mordechai] Rozanski has stated that it is our moral obligation to provide our students with knowledge of the world so they can become successful and responsible citizens,” Materna said.

On Monday, Oct. 20, students will be able to view the new Center for International Education from 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center at 5 p.m.

For the first time in Rider history, there will be an International Opportunity Fair on Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center Lobby. There will be tables set up for faculty members who are leading trips abroad, Study Abroad programs, the Center of International Business and the Foreign Language and Literature Department.

Study tours will be recruiting students to work on campus over the summer with European high school students. One professor will be recruiting students to make an international soccer movie and the Fine Arts Department will do a presentation about songs and music with international themes.

“It’s going to be really exciting and a way to highlight what students can do, either in the curriculum or outside of the curriculum, to educate themselves to be global citizens all in one place,” Materna said.

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