Students from Global Student Programs & Development held a kickoff event in the spring for the first time to emphasize the continuing value of community groups and involvement on Jan. 18.
HELPING STUDENTS CONNECT
GSPD utilizes community groups to help global students foster deeper relationships with each other. Interns lead these small groups by holding meetings regularly and hosting small events, all organized according to the availability of its members. Although the community groups team hosted a kickoff event in the fall to assign interested students to a group captained by an intern, this semester marks the first time it has occurred during the spring semester.
According to community groups team coordinator and senior studio arts major Laura Webster, the extra event allows students to reconnect with their groups.
“Typically, we found that when schedules shift, sometimes interests can shift too. So what we want to do is kind of reignite the interest and bring people in and have some fun to start off the spring semester,” Webster said.
The event itself proceeded without significant departure from the fall kickoff, though some students noted a decrease in attendance from the previous semester. Following an Olympic theme, Webster led teams of students in a series of activities and games, awarding points to the best performing teams before presenting a prize to the winner at the end of the evening.
Students who did not have a community group could also sign up to join one during the event.
Despite the preparation and organization required to hold the event, community groups intern and sophomore mathematics and psychology major Filip Peia takes pleasure in seeing other students attend.
“I actually feel encouraged when people show up. We’re glad that we actually get to do these events for people that want to come and that they actually enjoy the time,” Peia said. “That just brings a warm feeling to my heart.”
RELATIONSHIPS GROW IN SMALLER GROUP
While community groups intern and senior multidisciplinary major Meredith Bolthouse noticed fewer people attended than expected, she believes the event served its purpose well by giving students the opportunity to interact with other community groups.
“I think it went really good,” Bolthouse said. “We were able to adapt the program and I think it went better with the smaller amount of people, and I think people had a good time.”
Media team intern and sophomore biology major Ye Jeong Lee felt somewhat disappointed in the smaller turnout. Nonetheless, she appreciated the emphasis on team-building games and believes the event allowed students whose community group leaders did not return to Biola in the spring to continue their involvement.
Lee also believes events such as the spring kickoff help students to refocus on their identities.
“I think [these events are] good for the Biola community because… it helps us to kind of center ourselves as we go out, [so] we don’t lose ourselves,” Lee said. “And yeah, it’s also open to everybody.”