From the 26th of February to the 2nd of March, our annual ONEWORLDESSEX week took place! The weeks running up to that period involved engaging with cultural societies, the university and the Students’ Union to plan and execute a series of events to benefit all students. Although we had setbacks in terms of the everchanging weather and surprisingly thick snowfall that week, all things considered some of the events took place smoothly. Below are further details:
- Parade of Flags: Our opening ceremony and Parade of Flags took place in Square 3 and was represented by over 30 flagbearers from around the world. Officiated by our Vice-Chancellor of Education Madeline, we proceeded with a lively parade around campus led by myself, the VP International, our ISA Chair Emyliyana Suhaimi, and a talented bagpipe performer by the name of Mike Simmons. All of the flagbearers were then invited to speak on the topic of their country to educate and share their experiences the crowd. Despite the snowfall, we proceeded with a host of performances including a traditional English Morrismen Dance and cultural dances from the energetic Cypriot society and talented Malaysian Society. We are proud to celebrate our international community! Pictures of this event can be found on the Essex SU FB page.
- International Food Festival: Earlier in the morning, thick snowfall fell and covered Square 3. However, after the snowfall was cleared by our Estates team and getting the go-ahead, we proceeded with the International Food Festival hosted by nine cultural societies including French, Romanian, Malaysian, Bruneian, Polish, Latin American, German, Swiss and Austrian and Japanese International! Kudos to all our participating societies who sold their delicious traditional food and brightened up the day for many who were on campus.
- Unfortunately, the CV workshop and speaker sessions on Wednesday on the topic of Brexit and the Impact on International Students as well as the International Alumni session had to be postponed as the speakers were unable to attend due to the heavy snow and transportation issues. We will look to organise these sessions on a later date to benefit all Essex students. The Cultural Crawl which was to take place on Thursday also had to be cancelled as the snow and cold winds made it a difficult day for many to participate. We will also look to reschedule this event on a later date.
- International Party: The event took place on Thursday evening in BASE. However, due to the increasingly freezing weather and the safety buses not running that night, the event had a low turnout. Despite that, the attendees enjoyed themselves and suggested we host another one later in the term to celebrate the end of term and assignments. We will consider this if there is high support for this idea.
- International Gala and Exhibition: While the Exhibition unfortunately did not take place due to some issues, the International Gala went amazingly well thanks to our amazing performers. Over 10 diverse performance groups thrilled the crowd of over 100 students, ranging from a traditional Indian dance to a Japanese musical instrument performance, from an energetic Cypriot dance group to soulful songs by our singers. It was a fitting closing ceremony for ONEWORLDESSEX.
- While ONEWORLDESSEX week had many challenges, I am proud that our ISA team and volunteers gave their heart and soul in making the events a success, and thank them for their great work and support. I will review what we could have done better and brief the incoming VP International so that next year’s will be even better. Head over to the ISA Instagram @isaessexsu to see updates from ONEWORLDESSEX week!
Upcoming events that I am involved in include the ONE ESSEX PROJECT, which will take place on the 12th of March in collaboration with Residence Life. It centers on celebrating our similarities and differences and working to eradicate prejudices and judgemental behavior, and is a collaboration between students and the university. I am also working on the MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN, which is our sabbatical officers’ group project to highlight mental wellness and mental health in our Essex community and will consist of a survey, informative videos and talks on mental wellbeing and mental health.
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