Simon hosts international students
Since coming to MSU, Dominic Nangea and Kuya Julius always wanted to personally meet MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon — a wish that came true this Sunday.
Nangea, an agribusiness management sophomore, and cousin Julius, a business information systems and chemistry sophomore, were thrilled to finally get to meet Simon in person.
“We’ve been following what President Simon says and what she says about the global community (since we’ve been) here,” Nangea said. “We felt that she is very welcoming and we always wanted to talk to her and take a picture and have our minute with her.”
The Kenya natives met Simon at the third annual East Lansing Welcomes the World event, inviting international students and families to the East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road, to welcome them to East Lansing and MSU.
The many students and community members in attendance received a welcoming message from Simon, East Lansing Mayor Diane Goddeeris and MSU Office for International Students and Scholars Director Peter Briggs.
Goddeeris spoke to the audience about the opportunities the community has because of the diverse population.
“The members of the community look at you coming as a gift to us,” Goddeeris said. “When you’re out and about, we have a chance to learn from you and it brings us together.”
After the welcoming, attendees enjoyed a laugh with people from an array of cultures while they enjoyed food catered by Grand Grillin’ and live music.
One of the aspects Nangea loves about MSU is the diversity, as he sits next to someone from China in class one day and finds himself doing homework with someone from Lebanon the next.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to interact with the world,” Nangea said. “The reason I like MSU is the fact at MSU, almost every (country is represented) from all over the world.”
Since receiving a scholarship to go to MSU, Julius said his life has been transformed with a great opportunity and events like these makes him feel like a Spartan.
“MSU is a friendly place with many people from many places over the world,” Julius said. “It’s a great opportunity and gives us a sense of feeling that we belong to MSU.”
During the event, Briggs announced this year MSU has about 7,300 international students compared to only 6,000 last fall.
Simon said the increase is more than she expected but encouraging diversity is exactly what MSU has been trying to do since former MSU President John Hannah set a path for the university to be a global pioneer years ago.
“(Bringing international students to MSU) is not a new part of Michigan State University,” Simon said. “We want to be around the world solving difficult problems.”
East Lansing Public Library Director Kristin Shelley said the event was a great way to work together with MSU and learn about the many different cultures at the university.
“This is what this country is based on,” Shelley said. “People from different cultures coming over and making this country so great.”