Roundtable furthers cultural discussion

Photo by Brenda Lin

On Oct. 29, the President’s Council Governing Board and SGA’s Cultural and Diversity Affairs Committee hosted a Cultural Roundtable allowing representatives from twenty cultural organizations to come together to discuss culture and diversity.

“We planned this event to help different diverse cultural organizations establish some common points of contact. Although all the organizations are very different, they actually have a lot of common struggles and perhaps common solutions,” Alex Berry, Junior Class President and IE major, said. “I would love to be able to see different cultures come together in a true piece of collaboration.”

The roundtable event also included presentations by various organizations.

For instance, the Office of International Education (OIE) discussed the services the Office provides cultural clubs.

“OIE can allot 150 dollars to a  club if the club is going to host some type of event for the whole Tech community that is going to increase cultural awareness,” said Diane Lai, OIE and Global Jackets representative, said.

OIE also offers informative intercultural communication training to help these groups share their culture with the campus.

“In order to improve communications between people that do not have the same background, clubs can schedule communication training with someone from OIE,” said Lai.

At the roundtable, a “Home for the Holidays” idea was also discussed where international students are paired up with in-state students for the Thanksgiving holiday. A joint effort between SGA and OIE, in-state students can take one to five international students home for the holiday.

With regards to the roundtable, most students felt the event was a successful networking opportunity.

“I got to meet people from other organizations and put a name to a face,” Cari Fundora, LASA representative and third-year INTA major, said.

“The event does benefit us because we can network with others who we could possibly host events with in the future,” Viju Ramesh, Fillipino SA representative and third-year ChemE major, said.

“Networking is the best aspect. For organizations that don’t work with OIE, the event was helpful, and they should start working with OIE,” said Sam Leach, Hillel representative and fourth-year ChemE major.

Others felt the event was overall beneficial, but they seemed to doubt that all of the proposed goals would be accomplished.

“The specifics of what was discussed will help our organizations, but the general objectives were ambitious. The OIE presentation especially about the culture fund allotment was helpful,” Lin Jasa, TASA representative and fourth-year EE major, said.