Friday Caf‚ promotes communication

Laura Kennedy

ISU students, faculty and staff have a unique opportunity to meet each other, converse, share ideas and interact during the Friday Cafe.

The event is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday in the M-Shop, and is open to all students, faculty and staff.

“One of the original purposes [of the Cafe is] for there to be interaction between U.S. students and international students, U.S. faculty and international faculty, and all faculty, staff and students as well,” said Jane Edwards, program coordinator for International Education Services.

Edwards said there have been more students than faculty attending Friday Cafe, and they want faculty and staff to know it is also open to them.

“We want faculty and staff to also attend because there are not many opportunities for them to informally talk with students,” she said.

Friday Cafe is co-sponsored by the International Peer Assistants from International Education Services and the Student Union Board. Edwards said SUB supports Friday Cafe by providing soft drinks, coffee, tea and free popcorn while the peer assistants are more involved.

“International Peer Assistants are eight undergraduates from all different countries all over the world, and they are the ones that are really sponsoring it,” she said.

Friday Cafe provides a safe atmosphere for people to share ideas and get to know each other, Edwards said.

“The International Peer Assistants are there to make everyone feel welcome, have someone to talk with and feel very much at home,” she said, adding that the assistants serve as mentors for international students to help them adjust to college life and excel in academics.

“We want this to be relaxing, for people to have tea or coffee and just talk,” said Billy Wong, member of the peer assistant group. “Sometimes I think that it’s pretty interesting to see and learn about the world without going to that place.”

Wong, senior in management information systems, said the Friday Cafe hours are convenient because many people don’t have class, and it is easy to stop by.

“I think the U.S. students who attend Friday Cafe can learn a lot about the world just from meeting people that also attend,” Edwards said. “They develop friendships that sometimes can last a lifetime. Faculty and staff can also learn about where students are coming from and the interests that they have.”

Edwards said many students planning to study abroad or who have already studied abroad like to come to Friday Cafe because it is an atmosphere that might be more similar to a country they have visited or want to visit.

“Friday Cafe creates more interaction in communication and helps make Iowa State a more open and welcoming place,” Edwards said.