News Story

November 24, 2015

La Roche College Celebrates International Education Week

International Education Week_Press ReleasePITTSBURGH, Nov. 24, 2015 – This month students, staff and faculty at La Roche University participated in International Education Week.

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education, developed as an opportunity to celebrate the importance of international education and student exchange worldwide.

Assistant Director of Global Engagement Carly Reed, Ph.D., said, “Institutions around the world, particularly American universities, participate in International Education Week by developing their own events and programming with an international focus. As such, La Roche organized a series of events and programs to promote diversity, to raise awareness of international issues and to celebrate our multicultural community.”

From Nov. 16 to 20, La Roche offered internationally focused programs and events, along with opportunities for the college community to explore various cultures. The Office of Global Engagement also collaborated with the La Roche Design Division so that students could learn about the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

“We wanted to do something that would educate the La Roche community about refugees in general, and then specifically inform them about what’s currently happening in Syria,” Graphic Design Department Chair Neha Agarwal stated. “We were really hoping to make an impression in an interactive, collaborative, easy, yet high-impact manner.”

The Refugee Experience event was incorporated into The La Roche Experience (LRX), a required sequence of courses for all traditional freshmen, sophomores and juniors. LRX introduces students to the Catholic principles of peace and justice, issues of diversity and discrimination, conflict prevention and issues of economic justice.

Instructors asked LRX students to come up with an equivalent to 12 million, the estimated number of Syrians affected by the conflict, and write down the equivalent on a notecard.

“It’s easy for us to picture 100 of something, but wrapping our heads around a number as staggering as 12 million is very difficult,” Professor Agarwal said. “The goal was to come up with several equivalents to 12 million and visualize them in order to help viewers really understand the enormity of the situation.”

The activity included a display of information about refugees and the Syrian Crisis. LRX students posted their notecards with equivalents to the wall.

“As students posted their notecards and looked through the display, design students chose notecards and then doodled the concepts onto designated areas in the display. Participants also strung a pre-calculated number of beads throughout the day, and eventually the string of beads represented 12 million,” Professor Agarwal said.

In addition to The Refugee Experience, International Education Week included presentations and information sessions by The Rukmini Foundation, Global Pittsburgh, the Peace Corps, Eco-Soap Bank and Foundation Bon Samaritan Inc. Other events included Desserts from Around the World and Global Day, a celebration of the cultures represented in the La Roche student body.

“International Education Week brings into focus that La Roche is a global campus,” student Michelle Draskovich said. “La Roche has students from all over the world, and I consider the perspectives they bring as part of my education.”

Ms. Draskovich of Gibsonia, Pa., is a senior majoring in international management. She worked closely with the Office of Global Engagement to plan events and activities for International Education Week.

“Although La Roche is really close to my home,” she said, “I am experiencing so many new cultures and making friends from across the globe.”

About La Roche University: A private liberal arts college in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers more than 50 undergraduate and six graduate degree programs, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences, as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential college provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,500 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.  

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