Diversity at the U of R


Fourth International Night highlights diversity within the city

Ed Kapp
News Writer

Billed as a celebration of the University of Regina’s diverse student population, the Graduate Students Association’s fourth annual International Night proved to be just that.

Some may perceive the U of R as a small city school with little diversity among its student body. The truth is, according to students interviewed at the event, the university boasts a nearly unmatched degree of diversity. Among graduate students alone, there are over 300 international students, representing nearly 100 different countries and regions, currently enrolled at the U of R.

Many of the U of R’s international students, along with a number of their domestic counterparts, attended the GSA’s International Night festivities on Feb. 17 to celebrate diversity at the university. 

Before a packed Multi-Purpose room in the Riddell Centre, guest speakers Dr. Rod Kelln, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research; Dr. George Maslany, the U of R’s VP Academic; and Adam Belton, president of the GSA, began the evening with brief addresses to those in attendance.

Following the opening speeches, over 20 performers, including representatives from the Afghan Students Club, the African Students Association, the Iranian Society, and the Muslim Students Association, and many more took the stage to share pieces of their cultures with dancing, poetry, and singing.

After the performances, the main event of the evening – an assortment of food from around the globe – was served to everyone in attendance.

While an evening of free food and entertainment was reason enough for many students to flock to the Multi-Purpose room on a cold Thursday night, many believe events like the GSA’s International Night serve a more profound purpose than providing U of R students with a complimentary night out.

Belton, who did a great deal of work to make the International Night come to fruition, believes that – especially in a diverse environment like the U of R – events that celebrate and promote different cultures are valuable for everyone who participates.
“The whole university has seen a growing number of international students over the past 10 years. It’s a trend that we can see,” said Belton after the final performances of the evening.

“I think that this event was started up in order to celebrate the addition of the different ethnicities and backgrounds that people are coming from. It represents their cultures and allows us to gather and learn about them. I think it’s a very important event.”

Like Belton, the evening’s second guest speaker, Dr. Maslany, believes that having a diverse student body is very important for the university. With the U of R boasting such a varied student body an event like the GSA’s International Night serves as an important opportunity for everyone involved.

“[Diversity at the U of R] is an integral part of our fibre. Basically, I’d say taking the international component away would be like removing the wetness from water. It’s very much a part of our heart and our soul and our very being. It gives an opportunity for exchanges between people that might not have been afforded to them otherwise,” offered a passionate Dr. Maslany.

From a student’s perspective, Kabari Quaye, a second-year actuarial studies student, believes that the GSA’s International Night is an important mechanism in bringing people of all cultures together.

“I think that [events like the GSA’s International Night] are very important, because our university is very international – you walk around and you always hear different languages. It’s good to have events like this to bring people together, so people don’t have to stay in their tight-knit groups. International Night is a big deal. It should be a big deal to bring out everyone and all of the cultures.”

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