Bringing Together the World fosters friendship between international, domestic students

By Tylee Bush | 1/29/18 12:51am

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GVL / Emily Frye Club leaders Alan Carter and Amber Modena talk about future events during the first meeting of the Bringing Together the World Club on Tuesday January 16, 2018.

Three Grand Valley State University students, Amber Modena, Alan Carter and Ariana O’Neal, saw a need for deeper, stronger relationships on campus. They noticed a lack of community between international students and domestic students, so with diligent work they created a new student organization that would facilitate these friendships: Bringing Together the World (BTW). 

Modena, Carter and O’Neal are thrilled to get BTW off the ground, and they are excited about the opportunities this new organization will provide.

Modena, founder and co-president of BTW, is a senior studying international relations. Modena was asked by the Padnos International Center staff to reestablish and revamp what was once the International Student Organization (ISO), a campus-wide organization that provided opportunities and social events to get international students plugged into campus life at GVSU. 

“The process was actually a lot simpler than I had originally expected, thanks to the Office of Student Life,” Modena said. 

With explanations from the Office of Student Life and helpful online guides, Modena said that establishing BTW at GVSU was a smooth process. The amount of passion fueling the organization also helped to move things along quickly.

“We three were all really excited to get started,” Modena said. “So, it was easy to work with such hard-working and enthusiastic peers.”

After mentally envisioning the organization, they laid the foundation by writing the BTW Constitution. Next, videos were created, marketing initiatives were established and the organization was ready to take off.

Carter, founder and co-president of BTW, is a junior studying advertising and public relations with a minor in international business. For him, the inspiration for BTW came from the lack of cross-cultural connections he noticed between international and domestic students. 

“BTW was born as a means to better develop a deeper sense of community between the two and increase cultural competency along the way,” Carter said.

Carter said BTW was created for any student at GVSU. 

“We pride ourselves on being inclusive no matter who you are and where you come from," he said. "Everyone will be, and always will be, welcome. The more the merrier.”

With the goal of creating a  judgment-free zone where students, international and domestic, can embrace different cultures, BTW will be hosting the annual Sexy Accent Night. Previously run by the ISO, BTW will be carrying on the tradition each year for a night of cultural awakening and embracing diversity. 

The event will be held on Friday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room, and it will include performances from various cultural organizations on campus along with specialty cuisine. In addition to Sexy Accent Night, BTW plans to host monthly events and gatherings throughout the year to showcase a variety of cultures and enable students to make new friends. 

“The intentions are simple: to bring together the world one person at a time,” Carter said.

BTW meets weekly on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Room 2266. Students can join BTW through OrgSync, connect with BTW on Facebook and Instagram, or simply join one of the weekly meetings to learn more and get plugged in.

For more information, email btwgvsu@gmail.com.

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