TRU’s 23rd annual International Days have started and will be host to more than 70 events going on throughout the week, many of them proposed and hosted by TRU students themselves.
International Days coordinator Jennifer Pallett said that one of the reasons this year’s schedule is so much bigger was because of the difficulty in turning down suggestions for events.
“Usually our schedule is a lot smaller,” Pallett said. “It was very difficult to turn away anyone. We just wanted to accept everyone and everything.”
About 70 to 75 per cent of the events this year have been suggestions from students, Pallett said, the highest it has ever been. In addition to more student involvement, this year’s IDays also has TRU’s faculty and staff more involved as well.
“We have got quite a bit of staff involvement this year. We have things like a global competency information session and a study abroad session,” Pallett said. “A new session this year is called ‘Leave For Change,’ and it’s encouraging faculty and staff to get involved and going and working abroad.”
This year, the Kamloops Multicultural Society will be back again to showcase diverse flavours in their cooking show. Pallett also promises that there will be even more community involvement from local artists and other community members in events such as “Games People Play” and “Virtues of a Vegetarian Diet.”
Yet IDays is about more than food and fun, it gives both the TRU and Kamloops communities a chance to learn about and explore the diverse cultures that can be found at TRU.
“It’s an opportunity to meet everyone on campus and bond over our differences,” said Katie Kershaw, a student in Pallett’s Staging Special Events course. “To just celebrate everyone’s different cultures and learn more about the people you are seeing everyday.”
Though this is her first time participating in IDays, Kershaw says that the week-long celebration of culture is the perfect way to gain experience doing what she loves, event management. During IDays, Kershaw and some of her classmates will run the “I in IDays” photo booth.
“We are going to have it all set up so you can stand in the booth and be the ‘I,’ and you can post your picture online and enter what the ‘I’ means to you. So that could be anything from cultural awareness or our community, that kind of thing,” she said. “We will be picking three winners to win various prizes like gift cards and a student survival gift basket.”
To TRU World Events Manager Craig Engleson, getting students like Kershaw involved is what IDays is all about.
“I don’t ever want it to be something that I organize for the students, I want them to organize it and me help facilitate in any which way,” Engleson said. “I hope that everybody sees something on the schedule that interests them and that they engage with it somehow. That’s kind of my excitement and hope with it.”
With an event budget of $40,000, Engleson thinks that there will be something in this IDays for everyone. However, if there is not, he encourages students to speak up and voice their ideas so that they can get their suggestions on the table to improve even more for next year.