International Jayhawk Festival – Connecting KU’s International Community Together
KU celebrated its second annual International Jayhawk Festival at Daisy Hill Commons, a central location in the residence halls that reach more than one thousand students living in the residence buildings.
It is estimated that more than nine hundred participants entered Daisy Hill Commons for the festival and they were greeted with an International Jayhawk Festival volunteer who gave each person a “Passport.” This “Passport” was their guide to exploring the information tables and earning enough stamps to eat an international meal that was provided by the festival sponsors.
There were more than fifty tables representing international programs, international academic and language departments, student organizations, and student services available on campus. Participants approached tables to learn more about their interested topic, participate in fun activities, and sign up to stay connected.
The festival provided participants with opportunities to attend Global Issues Teach-ins on a variety of important and current topics about international affairs, such as LGBTQIA + Issues around the World, Indigenous Transmedia Activism in North America, and How I Helped KC Learn to Love Refugees, to name a few of the topics taught during the Global Issues Teach-in.
“[The] International Jayhawk Festival was a wonderful celebration – and the participation there reminded me … of the depth of interest and engagement in international education…It is events like these that bring us together. We are changing minds and trajectories. We are finding ways to overcome our biases and creating spaces that empower others to do the same,” states Interim Associate Vice Provost of International Programs, Charlie Bankart.
Entertainment was the backdrop to the hustle and bustle of participants earning stamps as they walked along the tables. Haskell Indian Nations University, located in Lawrence, performed numerous traditional dances, and KU International students and scholars performed salsa, capoeira, and a musical performance from the KU Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
“International Jayhawk Festival is a program which allows for international students to engage in different activities to help for their academic years. Knowing about different cultures, offers that KU has to make for the students is remarkable and the associated teams help organize an information outreach for those dedicated international students studying here at the University of Kansas. Personally, I enjoy the different diversity at the university and it makes me feel no less than my home country and being able to connect to different people and their culture is a privilege one can only experience being here at the University of Kansas.” – Christopher Gavin Gomes, AAP IAP student from Bangladesh.