Students hope to continue peace message all year

Jill Pearson

During International Week, ISU students promoted a message of peace that they hope will continue throughout the year.

The week’s theme, “A Peace of Cake,” included activities from candle-lighting to a food fair, culminating on Friday night in a celebration of the diverse cultures at Iowa State. The closing ceremonies included musical performances and dances.

Ashish Kumar, senior in advertising, said the International Student Council had three objectives for the week.

“The main goal is to raise money for international students,” he said. “International students get no financial aid from the government or the university.”

Kumar said that at the food fair, the group raised over $2,000 for scholarships, and they also had fun promoting its second goal of promoting international culture on the ISU campus.

Kumar said the week was an opportunity for international students to find their place at the university, which was the third goal for the week.

“It is a chance for groups such as the Russian group, which participated for the first time this year, to get a start,” he said. “It boosts morale and confidence.”

Naveen Vembakkam, chairwoman of International Week, said she thinks the week gives a new perspective on the definition of culture.

“Culture to me is a way of expressing how to live a life in a very truthful, sincere and happy way,” said Vembakkam, senior in industrial engineering.

Kumar said he thinks American students should get involved with the program to help build a multicultural university.

“I was most excited because this is the first year American students helped out with International Week,” he said.

While American involvement may be on the rise, some international students would still like to see more.

“I am appalled by the lack of American students involved with International Week,” said Aref Al-farra, graduate student in business administration, who has been involved in the planning of international week for four years.

Erin Samson, undecided freshman, said the event was a very enlightening experience and plans to continue being involved because of the welcoming atmosphere.

“It opened my eyes to different backgrounds,” she said. “I felt awkward at first, thinking I didn’t belong, but then I realized that everyone involved appreciated a diverse audience, and I contributed to that.”

Vembakkam said international students also pick up on the friendliness of the program.

“We feel very welcome at Iowa State and hope American students feel welcome to participate in international activities,” she said. “We feel more welcome when more students are involved.”