Beyond Borders Club Shifts Focus to Include Non-International Students

Dylan Tull

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The Beyond Borders Club, formerly known as the International Students and Friends Club, has recently undergone a few pointed changes in order to expand the club’s boundaries. The name and mission statement changes reflect the club’s new drive to encourage non-international students to participate in international affairs.

The club hopes that this simple change of brand will go a long way in reaching out to people. By removing the connotation that the International Students Club was solely for international students, the Beyond Borders Club hopes to recruit all Whitman students, not just international students, who are interested in international affairs.

Senior Marcial Diaz, co-president of the Beyond Borders Club, explained the reason for the change.

“The name Beyond Borders would transmit what we are trying to do with the club, which is trying to get people to talk about international affairs and be more interested with what happens outside of the U.S., whether it’s in Canada, Argentina, South Africa or anywhere else in the world,” he said.

The number of international students at Whitman is small. According to Diaz, it’s about three percent. But judging by the number of Whitman students who study abroad, international interest is extremely high. This club, with its new focus and name, could be the perfect way for Whitman students to explore that interest. In fact, students who are interested in studying abroad or who have already spent a semester abroad could be a perfect fit for this club.

Senior Alegria Olmeda, BBC’s advertisement chair, explained why students involved in studying abroad might be interested in the club.

“Usually when the people who have studied abroad just come back, they are really in love with the country they went to and really want to stay in touch with that country somehow. And if, in the club, there are people that are from that country, or who want to go or have gone, it will be a good link for them,” she said.

In order to get Whitman students engaged with international affairs, the club has planned four different events for this year. They hope to have a lecture series focusing on the concept of peace around the world and to host cooking lessons, teaching students how to prepare food from all over the world. On U.N. Day, which coincides with Parents’ Weekend this year, the club plans to host a talk about the role of the U.N. for parents and students alike. BBC is also making big plans for next semester in the form of a big name speaker who will help get people talking about international affairs.

The energy and optimism surrounding this change is unmistakable. Already, the effects have been positive. At the activities fair, international and non-international students of every grade took an interest in the Beyond Borders Club.

Senior Laura Coulson, club treasurer, remarks on the new focus of the club.

“We wanted to make the club less focused on international students and more focused on international issues, and to generate discussion about the culture aspects as well,” she said.

 


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