Stark campus hosts Immigration Month

Megan “Meggie” Cale, anminternational student and scholar advisor, Sarah Schmidt, the outreach program coordinator of Global Education Initiatives and a group of international students interact with attendees after the ACIREMA workshop on Oct. 26.

Robyn Berardi

Kent State Stark is celebrating Immigration Month from Oct. 1 to Nov. 9 with events aimed at educating students and faculty on the realities immigrants face.

These events and activities are being hosted by the Kent State Stark Office of Global Education Initiatives, Office of Multicultural Initiatives and the Diversity Committee. 

“I think it’s our responsibility as an institution of education to provide a space to hear a diverse set of voices,” said Sarah Schmidt, the outreach program coordinator of Global Education Initiatives.

Activities include Immigration “Fact Check” quizzes on the Kent State Stark Global Initiatives Facebook page. The quizzes will run from Oct. 1 to Nov. 9 and correct answers to the quizzes will be provided at the “Speak Your Truth – Immigration: Let’s Fact Check It!” event on Oct. 31.

Other events during these six weeks included a presentation by Joe Cipperman, the president of Global Cleveland, on Oct. 18 and an ACIREMA Workshop on Oct. 26.

There will be a Refugee vs. Migrant discussion on Nov. 2 and an Immigrant Voices of Kent State Stark panel discussion on Nov. 8.

The panel discussion will include faculty, staff and students of Kent State Stark who have personal experiences with immigration.

One of these panel members is Claudia Gomez, an assistant professor in the Management and Information Systems Department.

Gomez said the panel allows students to put faces and individual experiences to the topic of immigration, especially those faces that are their professors.  

“The goal has always been to shed a light on members of society that are not the dominant group,” Gomez said.

The ACIREMA Workshop provides an interactive experience through a role-playing simulation. Attendees are able to play the role of international students and experience similar obstacles international students face while they are applying to legally study in the U.S., including obtaining a visa and an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.

“I think when you hear someone’s story it makes it easier to empathize and understand what they’re going through and that’s the first step to dismantling the discrimination and racism that exists behind all of these misconceptions about immigration,” Schmidt said.

The Kent State Stark Campus Center will also feature “Fact Check” posters that are aimed at debunking common myths about immigration. 

Chih-Ling Liou, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Kent State Stark and Diversity Faculty Committee chair, said these events will help provide attendees with different perspectives and she hopes the events encourage them to learn more on their own about immigration and the common misconceptions around it.

“(It is important) so they can hear the whole story instead of just one segment,” Liou said. “We want to just give them the first … knowledge to do further research on their own and also provide them with different perspectives.”

Robyn Berardi is a diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected]