International Center gears up for grand opening

Traneshia Stormer

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Students and faculty are buzzing about the new International Student Center which is set to have its Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony March 31 at 10 a.m.

Although the contractors are still finishing up a few details both inside and outside the building, students are eagerly waiting their chance to get inside.

Sami Owens, director of international student programs and services, said “We are still trying to get it open to students a few days ahead of the big event.”

Alumni Eric Liew donated $1 million to ULM for the center’s construction and is looking forward to the grand opening and meeting more international students.

Liew and Linda, his wife, will be at the ceremony and have the opportunity to say a few words to the audience.

Senior Avery Cunningham said, “ I am very excited because I know it has been in the making for a while and I cannot wait for the display of the hard work that has been put forth to make this happen”.

She is from the Bahamas and will be at ULM until her graduation in Spring 2016.

The building will serve as the community center for international students on campus. It provides a central place for students to learn, socialize and relax while feeling more closely connected to campus.

“To me, the new international student center will give students a new perspective of the international students at ULM,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said that it gives them a place to call home and makes them feel like they are truly welcome at ULM.

This center will not replace Culture Connection, a social and educational space where students, faculty and community members gather to share their culture and learn about new cultures.

Owens said, “The new building will ideally have a clubhouse ambiance with a full kitchen and meditation/prayer room”.

There will also be study rooms available that will double as temporary bedrooms for students who arrive on campus before the residence halls open.

Next week is “International Week.” There will be a couple of small events following the grand opening.

Students are currently planning a couple movie nights and a karaoke night that will be held in the new building.