International Welcome Party brings students together

The event was held to introduce students to international organizations and clubs.
Students learn about Korean culture while visiting the Korean Students and Scholars Association table Friday night at the International Welcome Party. More than 800 students attended the event, which featured 12 international organizations and clubs.

With paintbrush in hand, freshman Kristie Vahle focused on the construction paper before her as members of the Taiwanese Student Association instructed her in the art of Chinese calligraphy.

After completing the Chinese characters for "tiger," Vahle continued her visit to the International Welcome Party on Friday night, finding everything from Celtic music to Indian Bindi at the event.

Sponsored by Mizzou After Dark, Missouri International Student Council and the Missouri Student Association, the International Welcome party provided students with a chance to learn about different cultures and international organizations on campus, said Janelle Pfeifer, senior chair of the International Programming Committee.

“It’s for international organizations to welcome the entire student body to campus, not just international students,” Pfeifer said. “Sometimes I think that different organizations on campus and different groups on campus feel very isolated. Sometimes we don't feel like one Mizzou, which is something which we are really trying to promote with MSA.”

The partnerships with Mizzou After Dark helped the event gain a larger turnout by reaching students who regularly attend Mizzou After Dark events. More than 800 students attended the event, which featured 12 different international clubs and organizations. Students from all ages and backgrounds attended, Pfeifer said.

“The reason I love these kinds of events is because it brings everybody together,” Pfeifer said. “You can find every kind of person at this party. You can find international students, freshman living on campus, people who live off campus, seniors ... it's just a great event.”

Each organization had a table with displays for students to see. Upon entering, students received passports in order to collect stamps from each table. To receive free food, students had to visit at least six tables and acquire stamps from each one.

“That way, one, it slows down so the food doesn't just disappear instantly, and two, it actually makes people, you know, stop by visit some of these tables,” Pfeifer said. “All these booths have something to offer, so this way it actually like gets people to actually experience that culture rather than just coming for the food and leaving.”

Despite the stamp requirement, students like sophomore Dylan Noble still found the party enjoyable.

“You get to meet all kinds of different people from different backgrounds and learn about their cultures,” Noble said, “(They can) tell you a little bit about speaking different finesse languages and how they ended up coming to the Americas.”

The International Welcome party provided international organizations an opportunity to introduce themselves to students.

“We just wanted to interact so people know about this existing organization on campus,” said Urmila Bommana, a Cultural Association of India officer. “We want them to take part in our events and get to know a little bit about Indian traditions and customs.”

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