SEMO End of the Year Picnic a celebration of diversity

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – It was a day of celebration and a time to unwind, but it was also much more than that. 

Thursday evening’s End of the Year Picnic at Capaha Park showcased the values of the Southeast Missouri State University International Student Association.

“The association is a bridge between the international students and the administration of the university,” said Tafadzwa Mlambo, SEMO International Student Association President. “The reason why it is there is to provide international students with a sense of being home away from home.” 

Kevin Timlin, Executive Director of International Education and Services, said gaining experience interacting with people from different cultures is a skill that will benefit anyone in any endeavor.

“If I’m a graduate of higher education with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, if I’m going to be a productive member of my community, if I’m going to be a productive member of an organization, knowing how to work and interact with people from different countries and different cultures is so very very important,” he said.

Because there are SEMO students from nearly 70 countries, Mlambo says the possibilities are endless for domestic students to learn about other cultures, an opportunity the International Student Association aims to provide. 

“That is a pool of information, a pool of cultures, a pool of things that the domestic community can benefit from,” he said. “I hope it’s something we can make happen from now going forward.” 

It was a day to celebrate diversity. 

“A university is an educational community, and these are diverse, very valuable, important voices that contribute to that community,” Timlin said.

And it was a day for some great food.

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