By GIACOMO SPROCCATI
John Cabot University (JCU) has grown quickly in recent years. The year, 2014, saw the largest incoming class to date. With this wave of new students has come a number of new clubs and groups.
In less than a year, International Relations Society, Russian Speaking Club and Speak-Up Club, a public speaking group, came to fruition. Along with these three clubs, the Interfaith Initiative was created.
“In a 3 minute speech, I learned more than from a news article,” said Anna Butzova, a degree-seeking senior, who founded the International Relations Society with three other students. Their goal is to promote awareness about world events and to share their opinions. The group doesn’t have weekly meetings. Instead the four-member board organizes informal conversations with students and professors.
Noting the multicultural aspect of JCU, Edgar Ilves, a degree-seeking junior, started the Russian Speaking Club in Spring 2014. The club stemmed out of events previously organized by the Admissions Office for Russian students.
The club gathers both Russian and international students. Interstingly, of its 30 members, a third are not Russian. The mission of the club is both to learn more about Russian culture and to support Russian students who have just arrived at JCU. The club’s most successful event was a dinner with traditional Russian food on September 18.
Ilves said that more and more students are participating in the club’s events and believes “there should be more clubs related to specific cultures.”
A member of the Russian Speaking Club and an Economics and Finance freshman, Aleksandra Vereschak, officially joined this club in September. As a Ukrainian student, Vereschak gets along with Russians at school, despite the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Vereschak said clubs are necessary at JCU because they represent a valuable way to learn more about others and eventually change the status quo.
Freshman Hazel Ebenezer, a degree-seeker, got involved in student life at JCU as soon as she arrived this year. She attended every meeting the first week of classes to find out which groups best fit her interests. Eventually, Ebenezer signed up to the Multicultural Club and MUN Society. She believes that clubs are very important for the JCU community because they are opportunities to second the variety of international talents.
Chadiedja Buijs, a degree-seeking senior from Egypt, organized the first Interfaith forum last Fall in collaboration with Student Government. The event underlined the importance of promoting interreligious dialogue.
The Interfaith Initiative was founded by four professors, Dean Pamela Harris, Michael Driessen, Tom Bailey, Yvonne Dohna, and two student assistants, Lynette Quezada, student body president, and Buijs herself.
Buijs said the Initiative provides a chance to “get to know each other at a deeper level.”
The Initiative welcomes people from any religious belief or the lack thereof.
In October, they opened a meditation garden at Guarini campus.
Several clubs financially supported this project. The collaboration between the groups indicates that, “We, as students, do so much better than politicians,” said Buijs.