Global Gateway Day fosters international awareness, community

Visitors interact with displays at Kent State Stark’s Global Gateway Day on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Mariah Helaney

Kent State Stark held the second annual Global Gateway Day event to engage the community in global awareness.

Sarah Schmidt, outreach program coordinator, said engaging the community with events like this makes the college more globally recognized and understood.

“As we host an increasing number of international exchange students and send more students studying abroad,” Schmidt said,” the community is an integral voice in the process. For example, two community partnerships have provided essential services of housing and transportation for our international student population, which are vital to a successful international student experience.”

The event included three live cultural performances, international food sampling and global games and activities Saturday. Two of the three performance groups were international students, Schmidt said — the Chinese Dragon Dance and an African drum and dance interactive performance.

Nina Korkor Anani-Manyo and Janine Tiffe, international dancers for the African Ensemble, talked about how dancing connects them to other cultures.

Tiffe added that dance educates people about events around the world because it creates a platform of communication for them.

“It’s important to have both formal and informal forms of education, and dance is an indirect way to teach people about culture,” Tiffe said.  

Global education can put stereotypes and misconceptions to rest — starting with events like this one, Schmidt said.

“For me personally, I believe global education is a powerful tool that has the potential of fostering understanding and respect among people of diverse background and perspectives,” Schmidt said. “It is those misconceptions that lead to fear of those who are different, so events like Global Gateway Day are an important opportunity to use a fun event to introduce guests to world cultures.”

Stephen Avent-Mins, an international student working the origami station, said the global games and activities included origami, photo booths and henna tattoos.

“The event gives cultures the opportunity to express a part of their own culture to people that aren’t accustomed to it,” Avent-Mins said.  

Schmidt hopes student events encourage curiosity and inspires the students to consider studying abroad by connecting local students to numerous cultures. 

Mariah Helaney is a regionals reporter, contact her at [email protected].