This year GEPP started a new program called “Global Celebrations.” The idea came to me last year during Thanksgiving break. Our small office of ten is very diverse. Five of the staff are from other countries, and I thought, “wouldn’t it be interesting to celebrate their holidays and invite students to participate and learn about other cultures.” Everyone agreed that it was a good idea, and that’s how we got started.
We kicked the series off on February 1st with a Lunar New Year’s celebration at the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC). Our staff member, Dr. Wei Qiu, showed us (and 20 students) how to make dumplings. We made over 300! Our Assistant Dean, Dr. George Chiu, did all the boiling and frying. Wei also created New Year signs that each of the students received. It was a great evening and a fun way to celebrate the beginning of the Lunar New Year. And the dumplings were delicious!!
Our next event was on April 26th, at the Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette (the Mosque on campus). We celebrated with the Muslim Student Association as they broke their daily fast with a prayer. We shared a meal with them as they gave us a presentation on the observance of Ramadan. Here is what one student wrote about the event:
"Attending the Ramadan Enrichment event at the Purdue Muslim Student Association was one of the best choices I made all semester. I grabbed my friend, Grace, and we hurried to the Mosque on campus. We were warmly welcomed by our fellow Purdue students and the chair people of the association. I was quite surprised at not only how welcoming every person there was but how each individual I spoke to truly cared about my interest in the faith. Both Grace and I had a slew of questions to ask, and every time we were met with an honest, non-judgmental answer. When I asked about the reasoning behind fasting and other painfully obvious questions for those familiar with Islam, everyone I spoke to applauded me for my curiosity and gave me a thorough answer. My heart was greatly touched as I saw children running around the Mosque with mothers conversing amongst themselves. During mealtime, I watched the men help each other pass around food. In front of me, other girls chatted about their classes. I was so happy to see a community simply existing amongst itself and felt so blessed to be welcomed as a stranger. Grace and I learned a lot that evening and look forward to attending events at the Mosque in the future." – Sophia C.
We look forward to finding more celebrations to participate in and share with our students. Keep an eye on our website for more updates: https://engineering.purdue.edu/GEP/events