Strangers came together at the Global Union's "Friendsgiving" event to enjoy traditional Thanksgiving food and discuss unique cultural traditions in Asa Packer Dining Hall on November 15. The event, part of International Week, hosted almost 200 guests.

International Week coincides with Rivalry Week for first time

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For the first time in Lehigh’s history, International Week and Rivalry Week will be celebrated at the same time.

This year, Global Union’s International Week kicked off with FUSION on Nov. 9 and will conclude with the international flag parade at the Le-Laf game on Saturday. In the past, I-Week festivities were traditionally held the week before Rivalry Week. 

Clara Buie, the program director of the Global Union and Community Engagement, said the change was made to align Lehigh’s International Week with International Education Week, which celebrates international students on a national level.

Maryam Khan, ‘19, the president of the Global Union, said the group decided to shift International Week because it wanted to promote inclusivity and bring the concept of “One Lehigh” together for the game.

She said 55 students, each representing their home countries with their respective flags, will join the Marching 97 this weekend at Goodman Stadium. Parade members will trail behind the band before the Le-Laf game, following the band to the parents’ tailgate, into the president’s tent and onto the field, where they will remain for the pregame show.

“Close to 10 percent of Lehigh’s student population is international, so we’re hoping that people can see that during the flag parade,” Buie said. 

Daniel Beadle, ’18, the Marching 97’s manager, said band members are looking forward to this new collaboration with the Global Union and are excited to see more performers on the field.

Julina Mam, ‘17G, said she also likes the combination of events.

“I think the Le-Laf game is a good chance for people, including international students, to experience Lehigh,” Mam said.

Khan said the goal of International Week is to bring the world to Lehigh and highlight the perspectives of different students on campus. She said both International Week and The Rivalry aim to bring students together and make them feel welcome, safe and included.

Buie hopes this dual-scheduling will attract students to attend International Week events.

“We’re seeing a lot of different clubs come together and (collaborate), which is what we want and that’s how FUSION started,” Khan said.

She said the Global Union consists of 48 member clubs, some of which join forces to organize events for International Week. On Wednesday, Engineers Without Borders, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority and the Latin Student Alliance collaborated to host the Latin Carnival.

Some International Week events aim to encourage students to study abroad, while others intend to introduce food, poetry and dances from different cultures.

Khan said one of the Global Union’s major International Week events is Friendsgiving, which allows students, faculty and South Bethlehem community members to enjoy a meal and meet individuals from various backgrounds through conversation and games.

Other events include “A Glimpse into Asia,” “Our Voice, Our World” poetry night and Iranian-Turkish Delight, which offers Iranian and Turkish cuisine.

Ying Lu, ’16G, who attended the poetry event Monday, said she thinks the scale of International Week could be larger and more widespread across campus. 

Buie said the Global Union will evaluate students’ participation in International Week this year, and she hopes to continue this co-scheduling in the future.

Next year, Khan would like to see more events that combine International Week with Rivalry Week, not just the flag parade. However, she said the quality of events is more important than the quantity.

“We want to emphasize the global community at the Lehigh-Lafayette game,” Khan said. “I really hope this becomes a tradition.”

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