Buffalo State celebrates international awareness and China week

Melissa Burrowes, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State held its annual International Fiesta on Saturday in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall, wrapping up the concurrent celebrations of International Awareness Week and China Week.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of both events.

International Awareness Week was organized by the International Students Organization, or ISO.

The president of ISO, Meghan Hospedales, said the event was a way to make students more aware of international issues. She said ISO set up booths highlighting different nations on Friday.

“I think what American students can get out of International Awareness Week is that it’s important to be more accepting of people,” Hospedales said.

Hospedales added, however, “I think it’s just as important for international students to be aware of American culture as it is for American students to be aware of international cultures.”

This year, they didn’t have many events for the week, Hospedales said, adding that events will be spread out through the rest of the semester. The events will discuss world politics and gender rights, among other subjects.

China Week, although part of the activities surrounding International Awareness Week, was established independently by the Center for China Studies. Dr. Zhang Jie, the director of the Center for China Studies, said China Week is always held the week before the International Fiesta.

“We have Chinese scholars and visiting scholars and students here to show Buffalo State faculty members and students China’s culture with exhibits,” Zhang said. He also added “the importance of this China Week is culture awareness on campus, to make the people at Buffalo State aware of the existence of China, Chinese culture and Chinese students and visiting scholars here. So this is a part of the internationalization of Buffalo State.”

Throughout Monday, March 30, until Friday, April 3, a long table had been set up for China Week in the main lobby of the Campbell Student Union. China-themed products were being sold there, from $2 Chinese knot decorations to folkloric Chinese costumes and outfits that were priced over $100.

“In the previous years during China Week we have lectures in different places and we get involved with many people, but this year we do not have lectures because everybody is very busy,” Zhang said. “In the past, we had lectures, movie showing, and martial arts exhibits also showing.”

The International Fiesta event on Saturday showcased Chinese, African and Middle Eastern dancing, as well as the Latin dance group, Una Alma.

The event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m., began over an hour late because the food at the buffet table was not immediately ready. This didn’t diminish the audience’s enjoyment, however.

Murilo Santana, a chemistry major and international exchange student, was one of the people attending the International Fiesta.

“I have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, see other international students that I don’t know,” Santana said of the event.

Santana added, though, that the importance of International Awareness Week goes beyond the one week.

“I think it’s not just this week but the whole year,” he said. “It’s like we are in this country but we like to know about other cultures and the American culture as well, so I think it’s not just one week. It should be like, every week should be at least one event about this.”


Melissa Burrowes can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]