The annual international bazaar represents a celebration of diversity and cultures at Lehigh. This year, three seniors wanted to extend the event’s influence beyond campus boundaries.
Dakota DiMattio, ’17, Tamara Jones, ’17, and Anjela Yates, ’17, are members of the interdisciplinary Global Citizenship program. The women have been in the program since their sophomore year, beginning with a two-week trip and culminating with their year-long senior project.
Their efforts represent their final contribution to the Global Citizenship program. DiMattio said when choosing what topic to focus their project around, the group was interested in immediately making an impact on the local community.
“You go abroad, get the world experience and bring it back to the community,” DiMattio said. “The whole point of GC is you start with a world focus and gradually narrow it toward Bethlehem.”
The women requested to do something related to teaching for their project, leading them to tutor at Fountain Hill Elementary School. They decided to go to a local elementary school for their project and plan lessons for kids that would connect them to their own cultural background.
The Community Service Office helped the women get set up to help tutor children. Their Global Citizenship project had them drafting lesson plans for the children that would encourage them to reach out to their cultural backgrounds.
Yates said her group encouraged the children to come to the bazaar and get a taste of what different cultures are like, sending invitations out at the end of their four lessons. Each lesson had a theme: global citizenship, identity, culture and celebration.
The international bazaar is run through the Office of International Affairs and features tables operated by clubs that represent cultures from around the world, providing attendees with food, dancing, music and arts and crafts.
“We wanted to instill curiosity,” Yates said. “We want them to check out the different tables.”
The group said it never thought it would get to work with children and help them understand their backgrounds. Jones said an email the group received as first-years about a Global Citizenship ice cream social sparked their interest.
“I was first tempted by ice cream,” Jones said. “But then I found out I can go to Cambodia.”
The opportunity to travel and learn abroad during the winter break of their sophomore year was what attracted the women, especially given their majors and busy course loads. Between industrial systems engineering, sociology and accounting, study abroad opportunities were limited.
The group said the year-long project could be challenging because it was so student-led, and it had to build community connections on their own. The group said it had to adapt its goals as the months went on and adjust to any challenges. Before working with Fountain Hill Elementary, the group said it planned on running a tutoring program with the Bethlehem NAACP, but the idea fell through. However, the group said it was pleased with its work at Fountain Hill.
“I really enjoyed seeing how (the children) learned about identity,” DiMattio said. “I learned so late in my life, and I think identity is so important towards understanding people.”