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International student groups to receive dedicated space in MSU International Center

June 8, 2024
<p>The International Center pictured on July 7, 2020.</p>

The International Center pictured on July 7, 2020.

This past year, Michigan State University celebrated 150 years of international students on campus. To celebrate and honor these students, the university is dedicating a space to them in the International Center.

This collaborative space has been something the International Student Association, or ISA, has been working on for a while. In collaboration with Student Life and Engagement, or SLE, and the Office for International Students and Scholars, or OISS, it was able to make this a reality.

The idea for this space was initially discussed in spring semester of 2022, at ISA's first leaders' summit. The summit served as a place for international students to meet and discuss their experiences with senior leadership. OISS director and ISA advisor Dr. Krista McCallum Beatty was a part of this.

"During that summit, one of the themes that came out of it was students saying, 'What's so international about the International Center?'" Beatty said.

From the summit, leadership became aware that international students needed their own space, and the International Center would be the ideal place for it. The issue was brought to SLE for consideration, where it received great support.

"This came at the same time as we undertook a project to look at how the use of space reflected our campus population from a demographic standpoint," SLE spokesperson Kat Cooper said. "One of the identified needs was that space for the international students."

The space found was a room in the basement across from the MSU Bookstore. Currently, ISA is working on writing its policies and procedures for what it plans to do with the room.

Involved in these events for the past two years is international student and economics junior Nidal Dajani. Dajani, who is ISA's Vice President, said he is excited for the potential of their new space.

"This year is a very important year for us, because we have our own room now," Dajani said. "We are going to take advantage of that."

Aside from using the space to host events for ISA and its affiliate organizations, Dajani said, the club is hopeful for collaboration with other student groups. This will allow the members to get to know other international students as well as domestic students.

"We cannot grow if we do not think of it in an outer picture," Dajani said. "We are people who left (our) countries for an education in the US, so most of us have no one here. I believe it is very important for us to keep on growing. That's one of the goals that we have for the upcoming year with the room. To expand our international and domestic connection."

Having this space to help encourage connection between international and domestic students is very important to ISA. This connection, Dajani said, will aid in promoting growth for the culture of clubs and organizations on campus and help members grow as individuals.

"Reflecting on my time with ISA so far, it’s helped me grow in so many different ways," Dajani said. "Just talking to people from different cultures and nationalities, understanding how diverse this nation is and how we can all connect."

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