The International Opportunities Fair was held on Wednesday, November 16 in the Student Center on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The fair offered an overview of the extracurricular opportunities that are available for Salt Lake Community College students to participate in on a local level which have international connection and impact.
There were representatives that focused specifically on international students and opportunities related to them. Azucena Kirchbach, owner of Gems Talent Agency and current SLCC student, was at the fair promoting the Miss Imagen Pageant, a local beauty pageant for women with a Hispanic background. The winner will go on to represent the area at an international level pageant. SLCC has sponsored the pageant by allowing preliminaries to be held in the Grand Theatre this past June. Kirchbach presented the college with a donation of $1,000, which was more than half of the proceeds from June’s pageant.
“This is more than just a beauty pageant; it’s about supporting culture and women,” said Kirchbach.
There were also student groups at the fair such as the Asian Student Association (ASA).
“The ASA is open to anyone; you don’t have to be Asian to be a part of our association,” said Viet Ho, an ASA representative.
Ho said that the majority of the ASA’s focus is on service work. They organize guest speakers such as Thurl Bailey to come talk to students on campus.
Ho described the ASA as a “place for students to come relax and have fun.”
A small portion of the representatives at the fair were organizers of service projects that operate on an international level. They have created opportunities for students to become involved while earning service credit hours and giving back to a local or international community.
Linda Chamberlain, an adjunct instructor at SLCC, started the Fistula Project, which focuses on supporting and educating a particular group of women in Uganda. These women have been circumcised as part of their tribal culture. Some of them end up suffering from incontinence, which is the inability to control the bodily evacuative functions of urination or defecation, creating a bad smell.
These women are then ostracized by their tribe and sent away to live on their own. There is a hospital in Uganda run by nuns that takes these women in, and with support from projects like Chamberlain’s, they are able to perform surgery to correct the incontinence.
In addition to the surgery, the women are given an education and the ability to care for themselves again. Chamberlain sends the majority of every paycheck to Uganda to help these women. In addition, she has created a way for students to help. She is giving away spools of yarn and asking students to knit or crochet 11”x11” cotton squares that are then pieced together as quilts and given to the women in Uganda. Linda was also selling baskets made by handicapped handcrafters in Uganda. The proceeds benefit the women’s hospital.
“This is a beautiful opportunity for women working with women for an amazing cause,” said Chamberlain.
Catholic Community Services (CCS), an agency that helps refugees transition to life in America, has set up service learning projects in conjunction with SLCC to encourage students to get involved. Students who participate will tutor school-age refugees, work with CCS job developers to teach refugees how to write a resume and locate jobs and help organize and sort the Sharehouse.
In addition to opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, services provided by SLCC as it relates to international education were also explained. Jaime Balderas, the assistant lab coordinator at the Center for Languages located in TB418, explained the benefits of the Center for Languages as the equivalent of the writing center on an international level.
“If your primary language is English and you’re taking a German class, there is free tutoring available, and vice versa,” said Balderas.
In addition to person-to-person tutoring, there are video tutorials available.
“One of the most exciting parts of the Center is it’s the only place you can type internationally,” said Balderas. This can be a great tool, especially for students whose primary language is not English.
Another facet of the fair was that current and graduated SLCC students that had built their own business sold their products at the fair. There was handcrafted Navajo jewelry, holiday boutiques and hand woven alpaca scarves from Ecuador.
One booth had a pink and a grey shirt on the table with student signatures all over it. The company is called “i am. are you?” It is an inspirational clothing line that was started by Dallan Dugger and James Hope, two former SLCC students.
“We ask individuals to write their name on the shirt with one word that typifies or inspires them. Then we choose a word, such as ‘courage,’ and we put it on the shirt with the definition,” said Hope.
A new shirt design, word, and coloring are primed to be released monthly, and there are typically 50-100 shirts per release.
“When someone purchases a shirt with a powerful message, hopefully they’ll represent it. We want to inspire greatness in people,” said Hope and Dugger.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Fistula Project, e-mail Linda Chamberlain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in volunteering for Catholic Community Services, e-mail Janet Healy at email@example.com.
If you are interested in purchasing an inspirational t-shirt, visit iamareyoubrand.com or facebook.com/iamareyoubrand