International students celebrate Halloween

The Council of International Student Organizations hosted the annual Halloween “Nightmare on the Hill” Friday, Oct. 27 at the Zuheir Sofia-Dero Downing Building. Indian graduate student Krishna Patel experiences her first Halloween celebration with friends as CISO President Flavio Miranda greets newcomers.

Emma Collins

The Zuheir Sofia-Dero Downing Building transformed into an asylum, complete with cobwebs and tombstones on Oct. 27 for “Nightmare on the Hill,” hosted by the Council of International Student Organizations, or CISO.

Around 50 students floated in and out of the house throughout the rainy night, taking turns dancing to songs by Taylor Swift and Imagine Dragons while eating candy in the smoke-filled room.

Louisville senior Kijana Beauchamp said he came to the party partially because he is a member of the WKU Intercultural Club. He said he was impressed with the party’s turnout, especially because of the rainy weather.

“Under the weather conditions and some other stuff going on, I would have said it’s going pretty cool,” Beauchamp said, standing on the dance floor.

The Council of International Student Organizations was created in 2016 to bring together different cultural groups on campus, according to the group’s webpage. Peru senior Flavio Chavarri, the chair of CISO, said the party was a chance to bring different cultures together to celebrate Halloween.

Chavarri said CISO’s executive board planned the party in two weeks and spent the day before the event decorating the house with cobwebs, tombstones and ghosts and setting up a smoke machine.

“I wanted it to be like a ‘party’ party,” Chavarri said as he waited for guests to arrive.

Chavarri planned several games throughout the night. The first involved guessing the number of candy in a jar. No one accurately guessed the correct number, 150, but Dharti Patel’s guess was the closest, and she won a T-shirt.

Chavarri also interrupted the dance floor for the event’s second competition, a costume contest. Chavarri, dressed as Julius Caesar in a burgundy and white toga, introduced the three categories: best men’s costume, best women’s costume and best attendance of an individual student organization.

The winners included Noah Blondheim, who dressed as a female, and Krista Garrison, who dressed as a dead unicorn. The Indian Student Association won the prize for highest attendance.

Evansville, Indiana, senior Katie Kraft attended the party dressed as a cat. Kraft said she enjoys attending events hosted by international student organizations.

“It cool to see all the cultures,” Kraft said while taking a break from dancing.

The Zuheir Sofia-Dero Downing Building was named after Zuheir Sofia, a former international student who graduated from WKU in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration, according to a webpage for the Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar.

Sofia went on to have a successful career in finance and was inducted into the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1998. He and his wife, Susan, donated $500,000 to support the Office of International Programs. WKU’s International Center was then renamed the Sofia-Downing International Center, also named after Dero Downing, WKU’s fourth president and a friend and mentor to Sofia while he attended WKU.

Kraft said she appreciated the Dero-Downing International Center provided a space for international students.

“I love that they have this house that’s open for international students,” Kraft said.

Reporter Emma Collins can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].