Global Union has organized a week of culturally diverse events and activities to Lehigh to celebrate International Education Week, which is happening from Nov. 8-15. Fair Trade Coffee, an event to experience the taste the coffee from around the world, was on Monday, Nov. 11, on the STEPS front lawn. (Courtesy of Alex Mow)

Global Union celebrates annual International Education Week

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The Global Union organized a week of culturally-diverse events and activities for Lehigh students to celebrate International Education Week, from Nov. 8-15. 

The Global Union is an organization consisting of international and domestic students, which aims to promote cultural diversity at Lehigh.

Over the course of the week, the organization hosted more than 30 events, each celebrating different countries and cultures from around the world. 

From Ireland to India, the Global Union tried to fit in as much diversity as it could before the week was up.

“For me personally, I think International Week really is about promoting cultural interchange among different people,” Global Union president Miriam Soriano Gregorio, ‘20, said. “It really gets people to interact with other cultures, learn about them and get renewed interest in them.”

The week began with FUSION, one of the Global Union’s largest events. The event was hosted by the Asian Cultural Society, Black Student Union and the Global Union. 

The event, held in Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall on Friday, Nov. 8, involved dance teams, clubs and individual students showing off different cultures through dance in a safe and inclusive environment.

According to the Global Union, students’ reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. 

“Students love seeing the culture of Lehigh represented in different forms, whether it be through dancing in Fusion or through more educational events,” Global Union vice president Vicki Jagdeo, ‘21, said.

The Global Union partnered with many of the cultural clubs on campus to bring its events to fruition. 

Any of the Global Unions’ member clubs were able to request to host an event to showcase its country or specific culture. Many clubs already have their ideas prepared by the beginning of the semester. 

Diwali, presented in Baker Hall by the India Club, South Asian Student Association and the Global Union on Saturday, Nov. 9, was another large event during the week.

Celebrating South Asian heritage is a highlight for many of the students around campus.

“There aren’t many events that necessarily represent every country or every nation that is here,” Soriano Gregorio said. “To have events like these really helps international students feel at home.”

Lehigh departments and offices also contributed to the week’s events. The Study Abroad Office hosted events during the week, using the celebration as a platform to discuss the various programs it offers. 

The Center for Gender Equity also presented different activities, such as Gender EQUI-TEA, a space where students are able to come together to discuss global issues while enjoying international tea selections.

“Students love learning, and I think it’s a great opportunity for them to experience some of those global assets here at Lehigh, without having to travel abroad, if they don’t have the opportunity to do that,” said Caroline Neal, Intercultural Programs coordinator at the Office of International Affairs.

There were also events hosted by non-cultural clubs that wanted to contribute to the week. The Lehigh Coffee Club, for example, hosted Fair Trade Coffee, where students could taste coffee from different countries. 

The Eco-Reps hosted a sustainable sushi lunch to showcase Asian cuisine, while also promoting environmental efforts. University Productions and the African Student Association will present Jabulani, a fall African festival complete with music, games and food.

The events hosted were free to attend for students. The Global Union encourages events to be free of charge to keep activities accessible, Jagdeo said.

International Education Week is a nationwide event, celebrated from Nov. 18-22, and organized by the United States Department of State and the United States Department of Education. 

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