As Thanksgiving Break approaches on campus, Student Government Association senators joined together to make the international community feel like a part of American tradition.
Senior Emily Dick is the head of the multicultural committee within SGA at Oklahoma Christian University. Her responsibilities include planning events to help merge and create an awareness of the cultures international students bring to campus.
Dick said Jared King, head of the SGA spiritual life committee, came to her with the idea of having a potluck dinner specifically for the international students.
“We initially wanted to do a bigger event with students, faculty and staff but quickly realized it would be a logistical nightmare to put together,” King said. “We changed our plan to do something smaller around Thanksgiving because it’s a fun time to have an event.”
King said SGA thought hosting an event for the international community seemed like a great opportunity because many of them are unable to go home for Thanksgiving break.
“With Thanksgiving break being pretty short international students often won’t have a place to spend the holiday,” Dick said. “This dinner is creating a Thanksgiving for them even though it’s not going to be exactly the same. It also allows us to let them know we are thankful for them.”
Dick said the purpose of the dinner is to give international students a Thanksgiving meal to enjoy and let them know they are loved. It also serves to bring the American SGA senators and international students together.
“On campus recently, there have been changes in which we all need more awareness of others in general when it comes to our differences,” Dick said. “We often allow our differences to separate us instead of allowing what we have in common to unite us.”
Dick said events like this are important because they bring together people who come from different walks of life. According to Dick, this event allows students to understand and love one another better.
“Paul talks [in 1 Corinthians 9:22] about becoming all things to all people and learning to do that starts looking like becoming all things to all cultures,” Dick said. “Personally, I think it’s important because it’s very in line with the heart of God. God called us to be ambassadors for Christ to all nations. At OC, we have this really special opportunity here to be that to people and love people who are different than us.”
Dick said because of recent events, she feels it is important to show international students they are a valuable part of the Oklahoma Christian community.
“It was important for students to show initiative in caring enough to put something together in a year in which like the international community has not been valued much at times, whether it was meant to feel that way or not, the message was sent,” King said. “We would like the send the alternative message saying the international students are an important and valued part of our community. We would like to do something for them that they might not have the ability to do, like have a Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.”
King said the idea for the dinner branched from one of his goals for his spiritual life committee this year to appreciate the cultural differences on campus.
“We wanted to recognize and embrace the diversity that we have,” King said. “The international community is one of the most noticeable and easily accessible ways that we can address diversity that we have. It allows us to really show we care and that it’s an important part of who we are.”
The international student dinner will be held in the McIntosh Conservatory on Nov. 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The meal is provided by the SGA senators and is free to international students. Contact Jared King or Emily Dick with any questions related to the event.