Students at Colby-Sawyer College Create International Speakers Bureau To Share Culture and Global Perspectives
NEW LONDON, N.H., Oct. 16, 2012 - Colby-Sawyer College prides itself on the growing diversity of its student body, a population that each year becomes a more accurate reflection of the international community as a whole. Through their global perspectives and cultural experiences, international students bring the world to this New London, N.H., campus.
In an effort to share the wealth of ideas and experiences that these students can offer, Director of International Student Services David Elliott and student Anurup Upadhyay '15 recently established the Colby-Sawyer College International Speakers Bureau.
In conceptualizing the bureau, Elliott recalled the past when students would visit local schools to share stories about their countries and cultures, and he wanted to revive this tradition. Now ready to launch after a year of development, the International Speakers Bureau, which is free of charge, will seek to connect Colby-Sawyer's international student body with the surrounding community through speaking engagements hosted by any interested organization.
The International Speakers Bureau's website (www.colby-sawyer.edu/speakers) will serve as a major component to connect the students with the community, provide profiles of the speakers, background information on their native countries and surveys for potential hosts and volunteers. The bureau currently comprises 10 students who represent five countries, and several more are in the process of becoming members.
Upadhyay, a Business Administration major from Nepal, explains that the bureau's mission is to facilitate an exchange of ideas, perspectives and information among the international students, the Colby-Sawyer student body, and the larger community.
Any school, club, organization or business in the Lake Sunapee area, including those within Colby-Sawyer, may invite a speaker or group of speakers. In developing the invitation process, Upadhyay has sought to create a customizable experience for both the inviting parties and the student speakers, allowing each to fill out forms to outline their expectations and topics of interest.
Elliott believes that virtually any organization could successfully employ the bureau's resources. Whether the conversation revolves around politics, literature or food, these students will undoubtedly bring new insight to the discussion.
On the anticipated significance of the International Speakers Bureau, Elliott says that to ignore the increasingly diverse world in which we live limits us both professionally and socially, so we're trying to bring a little of the larger world to our part of New Hampshire.
Upadhyay believes New London will be the perfect venue for this endeavor. It's a small and homogeneous community, he explains. There's not much diversity, but that's exactly why we wanted to start this. I find the New London community really inviting. They want to know more about us. Based on that, I expect the Speakers Bureau to get a lot of invitations.
While providing the community with the gift of multiculturalism, the International Speakers Bureau will also benefit those students who volunteer to speak. This gives them the opportunity to practice their communication skills, says Elliott, to stand up in front of a group and speak about things that are important to them.
Elliott and Upadhyay hope to expand both the group of speakers and their area of coverage. I hope that people will give it a try, and also be patient, says Elliott, because we ourselves are just finding our way.
If you are a community member interested in inviting a speaker, or if you are a student looking to get involved with the project, please visit the International Speakers' Bureau website at www.colby-sawyer.edu/speakers for more information.
David Hart '13
David Hart is a student writer for College Communications.
Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.
Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000