The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


International Night embraces university’s diversity

“Expedition Around the World” is this year’s theme for Gannon University’s annual International Night.

Gannon’s international students, faculty and staff have teamed up again to showcase their countries’ traditions, food, clothing and performances at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hammermill Center.

The event is spearheaded by the International Student Office at Gannon and GU Squared – Global Unity at Gannon University – a campus group devoted to Gannon’s international students.

Judy van Rheenen, director of the International Student Office, said the event is one of the highlights of every year at Gannon as many students and staff – domestic and international – look forward to it throughout the year.

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“The night provides an opportunity to the staff and students to represent their cultures and show off their countries,” van Rheenen said. “The students put their heart into it and everyone shares with us a piece of their homes.”

Van Rheenen said the night has become a Gannon tradition and has been an annual event for more than 25 years. She also added that part of the event’s success is because it offered the Erie community a chance to experience different types of ethnic foods that are not available to them locally.

“I encourage all the students and members of the Gannon and Erie community to come to the event and get a taste of other cultures, meet new people and make new friends,” van Rheenen said.

Van Rheenen also said seven faculty and staff members are participating in the event and representing countries like Turkey and China.

Suzanne Hawryliw, secretary of the ISO and one of the main organizers of the event, said the event allows Americans and people from other nationalities to know more about each other.

“The Gannon community gets a glimpse of the international community that lives among them on a day-to-day basis,” Hawryliw said.

Priya George, co-president of GU Squared, said more than 30 countries are being represented at this year’s event, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and the Bahamas.

Students will also be showing their cultural heritage by wearing their traditional clothes and performing popular dances like the Indian Bhangra dance and a West African dance, as well as other dances from countries like the Philippines and Thailand.

“There are so many great cultures at Gannon that remain hidden,” George said. “This night gives them a chance to work together and experience that feeling of belonging.”

GU Squared, George said, exhausted its efforts to make this a successful night through fundraising, promotion and auditioning for the performances scheduled for the night.

Deryk Joseph, a junior business administration major and a representative of the Virgin Islands in last year’s International Night and the upcoming one, said the event was one of his favorites on campus – especially its performances segment.

“I give the event a 10 out of 10,” Joseph said. “It’s a fun experience and I wouldn’t miss it.”

“The greatness of this night is that it spreads cultural awareness in a fun way,” George said. “It gives people a chance to understand why people from different countries are who they are.”

Tickets are on sale at the ISO and the GU Squared table at the Waldron Campus Center. Adult tickets are sold for $10, students for $5 and children under 5 gain admittance for free.



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