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Efforts by International Student Council provide beds for international students

Courtesy+of+International+Student+Council.+
Courtesy of International Student Council.

While many students moved into dorms and apartments this year, members of the International Student Council (ISC) and community volunteers worked quickly to assemble and deliver beds before classes started.

A fundraiser by the ISC at Iowa State University in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa and the Iowa State University Foundation this August raised $3,500, with proceeds funding the purchase of 29 beds for international students.

“I love the collaborations we have developed as a council with our general assembly members,” Andrew Hokanson, president of International Student Council and senior studying agronomy, said. “We regularly partner with many multicultural organizations on cultural events throughout the school year.”

Hokanson, who joined ISC in 2022 as a member of the humanitarian awareness committee, said the fundraising project started before his time with the organization started. Hokanson said the council intends to continue the fundraising project indefinitely. Beginning next year, it will primarily be coordinated by the social and volunteer committees.

“I do know that international students in particular have more difficulties acquiring furniture for their homes, especially after spending so much money on travel to the U.S.,” Hokanson said.

This is the second year that the fundraiser has been completed in full, with a pilot project in 2021.

“As you can imagine, delivering 29 beds and assembling all of the bed frames in just two days was a huge challenge for our organization,” Hokanson said.

Hokanson said that since there is still a high demand for more beds, International Student Council strives to increase the number of beds delivered to new international students each year.

“Despite these challenges, the team’s passion and commitment made it possible to overcome them, and the experience taught us valuable lessons about collaboration, understanding and resilience,” James Afful, the student advocacy committee director of the International Student Council and a graduate student studying mechanical engineering, said.

Afful said the most rewarding part of planning and executing the fundraiser was seeing the effect it had on students.“Knowing that students, many of whom might have faced challenges adjusting to a new environment, now have a comfortable place to rest and rejuvenate adds a special meaning to all our efforts,” Afful said.

Hokanson also said the best part of the project was seeing the relief on students’ faces when their beds were delivered.

“With this obstacle removed, the new international students will be able to focus on their studies, instead of worrying about how they are going to sleep,” Hokanson said.

Hokanson joined International Student Council because he loves world cultures, working with international students and community service.

“International Student Council is for everyone,” Hokanson said. “I am not an international student, domestic students are welcome to join.”

Afful added that International Student Council is “more than just a student organization, it’s a diverse family”.

Along with fundraising projects, the council also hosts a number of cultural events on campus each semester. This semester, ISC will host the World Cuisine event Nov. 5, and International Night Nov. 12. To learn more about International Student Council, visit their website and Instagram.

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