International affairs office welcomes students

Denise Wright

Junior English major Yuki Matsuyama just wanted to “make a friend” last night at the international student welcome reception. She certainly had the opportunity to do so with about 200 people drifting in and out of the resource library in the Office of International Affairs in Van Campen Hall, where the event was held.

The crowd was a mixture of international and American students, faculty and administrators and members of the community.

“You can literally go around the world in this room,” said Theodore McKown, director of international recruitment and admissions. “This is what international education is all about.”

Along with different backgrounds, attendees had different motives for coming to the event. Like many in attendance, freshman finance major Don Brunatti wanted to network.

“There are a broad range of people here with interesting stories,” he said.

Usman Qureshi, first-year graduate student in technology management, had a more specific agenda.

“I’m looking for some international students from Pakistan or India,” Qureshi said.

While Quershi was looking to meet a particular group of students, Amanda Stewart, first-year graduate student in higher education administration and student personnel, was there to meet several international students.

“I’m here for my International Students and American Colleges class,” she said. “We were in the classroom for the first half of class, but we came here for the second half to talk to international students.”

Frederick Schroath, associate dean for the graduate school of management, was also interested in meeting an assorted group of international students.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot,” he said. “I feel like these are my people.”

With the reception being more informal this year than in past years, everyone in attendance had the chance to snack on refreshments and participate in casual conversation.

Kenneth Cushner, executive director of the Office of International Affairs, said this was completely intentional. He said the reception, which is held every fall about three weeks into the semester, has featured formal speakers in the past, but he thinks it was better without.

At first, Cushner was slightly concerned about attendance for the reception because of it being held the same night as President Lester Lefton’s State of the University address. Later in the night, however, he said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We’ve had a couple hundred people in and out,” he said. “I know a lot of students met new students and that was the goal.”

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Denise Wright at [email protected].