Explore the world through a Zoom screen with International Club


@guilco_international on Instagram

“International Club Tabling at the 2019 Guilford Student Club Fair”

Poetry recitations. Traditional music performances. History presentations, calligraphy demonstrations and immersive tai chi practices that get every participant on their feet. This is far from your typical Zoom meeting. This is Guilford College’s International Club. 

At the Guilford International Club meeting hosted on Friday, Feb. 12, the club celebrated the Lunar New Year by hosting various activities centered around history, storytelling and the arts. They thoroughly engaged student attendees and turned the usual black-screen abyss of Zoom into a space of smiling faces and curious learners interested in hearing more about different cultural celebrations of Lunar New Year. While this was a special New Year celebration, each International Club meeting similarly combines educational discussions or presentations with fun icebreakers and activities. 

According to International Club Executive-Board member Caleb Huppert, this combination of informative lessons and light-hearted club-bonding exercises aspires to “promote cross cultural-understanding” and “foster a sense of community among Guilford students.”

“The best part of International Club is the sense of community we are able to foster. We aim to raise people’s cultural awareness and discuss global issues from a variety of perspectives, and I think that is a valuable experience for everyone, especially incoming freshmen who may not know where they fit into Guilford, or the world, yet,’’ Huppert elaborated. 

Diyaa Kauffman, a sophomore member of the club, emphasized how central the club was to her first-year experience at Guilford. 

“International Club was central to my freshman year, due to the fact that it made up my most active social circle and was the place that I connected the most with my friends,” she said, adding that the friendly environment gave students “space to engage with our differences and learn from each other” that created an “open-minded and united community”.

International Club Vice President Henry Freeman says that this sense of community encouraged him to join the club his first-year and ultimately inspired him to take on greater involvement in the club through his current leadership role. 

“I love welcoming people to campus from other places and meeting new friends, and I love the friendliness of the group,” he said. 

Freeman emphasized that the club is “always welcoming new members.” 

While students may be hesitant to add new club meetings to their schedule with the effects of second-semester stress, Zoom-fatigue and general pandemic-related weariness, Huppert argued that these barriers make now a particularly good time for students to get involved. 

“Being a part of this club has really helped me keep in touch with the Guilford community, especially during a time where that (community engagement) has been made particularly difficult,” Freeman explained. 

The International Club has maintained a consistent meeting schedule and prioritized community engagement despite the various obstacles faced as a result of the pandemic. The club meets weekly on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Zoom, though they hope to transition to in-person meetings outside by the Guilford lake once COVID-19 restrictions and the weather allow. 

If students missed the International Club’s Lunar New Year meeting, they can look forward to another exciting celebration that will be developed in the weeks to come. The International Club Executive Board has started planning for the International Festival to be held at the end of the semester. 

“It will have to be online this year, but we have some great ideas for it that I believe will make it just as fun, and may even make the celebration stand out more than previous festivals!” Huppert said. 

To stay informed about this and other future meetings and events, follow their Instagram at the username @guilco_international. While links to their club meetings can often be found in the Guilford Buzz, to join the club’s mailing list to directly receive club invites and updates, email the International Club at [email protected].