This year’s Culture Week aimed to bring students together to celebrate diversity on campus and emphasize the idea that Wartburg is more than a college, it’s a world within itself, Liza Gashi, student leader for Model United Nations, said.
“There’s more to the world than your comfortable circle,” Gashi said. “As an international student who has seen some initial intimidation from my being foreign, I think it’s important for people to understand that.”
Culture Week featured several events hosted by the International Club in conjunction with other student organizations to bring the different cultures represented on campus to the forefront of students’ minds. The events included a culture fair, a Spanish film showing, Model United Nations, and the week’s culminating event, the Culture Show on Saturday night.
The Culture Show features performances including dances, skits, and musical talents from international students’ home cultures.
Jenna Rinehart, director of international student services, said the events are popular among students because of the appreciation for other cultures they bring.
“In the past Neumann has been almost full for the culture show, and I think a lot of that is because the international population on Wartburg really adds a lot, and this week allows the rest of campus to show that they really care about that,” Rinehart said.
Culture Week, Gashi said, is an important event on campus because though Wartburg students are open-minded, there is still a long way to go to achieve the global perspective she said she feels is so crucial.
“There’s room for improvement on campus, there’s a lack of understanding and assessing the needs of international students, but I think a lot of Wartburg students are willing to try, and I’ve seen a lot of progress,” Gashi said.
This year is the second year that the Model United Nations will be included as a part of culture week, and Rinehart said the addition has been extremely beneficial to the lineup.
“With Model UN, it helps bring a balance of entertainment and educational opportunities to the week’s schedule. It helps bring political issues to light and adds more focus to the event,” Rinehart said.
Gashi said broadening perspectives of students has been a goal for her since arriving on campus, and that being involved in Culture Week has allowed her the opportunity to drive that point home.
“Me being here is about more than a major, I’ve always hoped that when I leave and go back home, people’s lives will have been impacted by my culture and that awareness that there’s so much more out there I try to bring,” Gashi said. “You can’t get away from diversity, it’s everywhere, so embracing it is key to really living a full life.”