The college held its first Cultures Fair in November to highlight the range of diversity in our college family — current faculty, staff, and students represent 25 different countries! Initiated and guided by Dean Stauffer, associate dean for academic programs, and carried out by a committee of select undergraduate students — Rachel AtkinsKaylyn DudaEleonore DupalEleanor HeltonTaylor MeadeFrench Price, and Brenden Sweeney — the eye-opening event drew in crowds with displays, food, and music.

The committee invited international students and faculty from across the college to participate in the open house event; representatives from eight countries responded. Each group custom-designed a display featuring photos, maps, and items from their home countries. Some brought food to share, and music from around the world added to the festive atmosphere. A representative from the Global Education Office was also on hand to answer questions about study abroad and international exchanges.

“I loved talking to the participants and hearing about their experiences from the countries they were representing,” said Atkins. “They had great pictures that helped convey their experiences, as well as information that explained the use of natural resources within their communities.”

The committee also set up a world map in the Cheatham Hall lobby and invited students, faculty, and visitors to insert a pin indicating their hometown. “The map started out as a small idea but turned into a huge focal point that can be displayed and added to in the years to come,” said Helton.

The event closed with a keynote presentation by Professor Tom Hammett titled “The Role of Cultural Understanding in International Resource Management,” helping to highlight some of the themes represented during the fair.