InterNation Celebration changes venue to reach wider audience

amyhasson

Belly dancing, Spanish love songs, Irish stepdance and a fashion show.

Credit: Faith Bernstein

These were just some of the many entertaining acts featured in the InterNation Celebration that took place on the evening of Friday, March 30.  The InterNation Celebration, which was hosted by the Beyond Borders Club, was the first of its kind.

In the past, the Beyond Borders Club hosted an international banquet consisting of both food and performances together. This year, the club decided to revamp the celebration, splitting the event up into two parts.

The first part of the event was an International Feast in Prentiss Dining Hall, which featured foods from Latin America, Asia and Africa.  The InterNation Celebration, held later in the evening at Reid Ballroom, showcased 12 performances from different parts of the world, including Cameroon, India, South Africa and Latin America.

Senior Rimmy Doowa, a performer in the celebration and active member of the Beyond Borders Club, said the location, format and price were changed this year in hopes of reaching a broader and bigger audience.

Credit: Faith Bernstein

“Separating [the feast and performances] and making the tickets cost $5 instead of $10 or $20 opened it up for the whole Whitman community and the Walla Walla community. We all work so hard for it, so it’s better to have a bigger audience,” said Doowa.

First-year Lydia Loopesko, a master of ceremonies for the event, and member of the Beyond Borders Club, was very enthusiastic about the new venue.

“The fact that we had good lighting and sound made it look much more professional and formal,” said Loopesko.

All proceeds from the event went towards establishing an International Students Fund, which will be dedicated to helping incoming or current international students who struggle to pay for airfare and other expenses associated with traveling back home during school breaks.

Credit: Faith Berstein

Junior Marcial Díaz Mejía is president of the Beyond Borders Club and thought the new fundraising focus of the event helped boost the turnout.

“Students were more interested as we told them about the International Student Fund that we are creating. Knowing that the  money would support fellow Whitties seemed to make the event more attractive,”  said Díaz Mejía in email.

Many international students are not able to afford the costs of traveling to and from home during winter, spring  or summer breaks.  Although details are not yet finalized, the International Student Fund seeks to improve students’ experiences by defraying those costs.

“This our first year trying this, but this fund has a lot of potential,” said Doowa.