Students celebrate diversity at IEM event

Omar Attia and Flavio Chavarri sing Karaoke at the “Love Has No Borders” event on Feb. 10. The event was planned in response to President Donald J. Trump’s recent travel ban on seven muslim-majority countries. The event was panned by the International Student Diplomats in an attempt to get international and American students to mingle and get to know each other.

Danielle Chavis

In a crowded room on Friday, international and domestic students alike celebrated a night of cultural immersion. Love Has No Borders, an early Valentine’s Day-themed event, hosted by the WKU International Enrollment Management, provided a night of exhilarating dancing, creative group activities, karaoke, inspirational speakers and an appearance from President Gary Ransdell.

The Faculty House was alive with culture, as students collectively danced to a mixture of international music. Hovsep Yakubyan, a student from Armenia, danced and sang all night.

“I love African beat. I don’t know why they just keep me moving for hours, and hours, and hours,” Yakubyan said.

The event was hosted by the International Student Diplomats, the Iranian Student Association, the Saudi Students’ Organization, English as a Second Language International and the Student Government Association.

Love Has No Borders blended the international community together and provided a safe zone for everyone to learn something new about one another’s unique culture. In one moment, the room was filled with several intimate circles to play a game that expressed the individual or their culture.

In each circle, there was laughter, language and love. As friends shared and created new memories, the nightly atmosphere of the room was transformed.

Providing the attendees with a connection to each other and campus, Saudi Arabian student Mohammed Alabbas explained the importance of Love Has No Borders.

“For me its special, because it has a connection between international students and American students,” Alabbas said. “Also, it shows how careful and considerate WKU Faculty and members [are] about their international student society. This event means a lot to me because it says to me no matter what happens there is someone here for your help.”

The WKU International Enrollment Management and the host of sponsors proved reassurance to the international community at WKU. At Love Has No Borders, students had the opportunity to share and uplift one another in solitude.

Many students shared their disappointments and worries for themselves and their families in regards to President Trump’s recent travel ban, blocking immigration from seven countries.

Nigerian student Adetutu Francis said the Love Has No Borders event brought together many students effected by the same hardships.

“For them to share their experiences, to see that we are not alone, and we are all together and can talk about it and be okay with it,” Francis said. “I think it is very important. A lot of things can happen and bottling it in is hard. Knowing that a lot of people are there together and in this one room sharing their experiences is priceless.”

Yakubyan and Alabbas shared an equal enjoyment of learning new cultures different from their own. The knowledge gained from interacting with a new culture is what interests Yakubyan the most in his involvement on campus and at the event.

“It’s beautiful. I feel knowledge everywhere,” Yakubyan said. “I meet a person from another continent thousands of miles away, and I speak to them get to know them and I learn a new culture. It’s just beautiful, its knowledge.”

Through song, dance and food, diverse knowledge was shared at the event. The WKU Faculty house was decorated with red and pink hearts as a symbolic representation of the love and friendship between WKU’s international community.

In one night, students were able to laugh, smile, cry, and share their cultures, lives, and experiences with one another.

Reporter Danielle Chavis can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected].