By ALANNA KAISER
International Education Week has come and gone, and with it, the interns’ events at CGS. Each intern, myself included, was given the challenge of planning and hosting our own global events during IEW, and, in my completely unbiased opinion, all of the interns’ events were phenomenal.
Like I began to mention in my last CGS Blog, my event was a film screening featuring the short documentary, “A Thousand Suns,” provided by the Global Oneness Project, and a panel discussion comprised of professors and an ABD PhD candidate from Penn State. These individuals included Dr. Aubrey Maretzki, Professor Khanjan Mehta, and Mrs. Chanda Burrage.
The film proved to very interesting (I recommend you take a look—> Here) but the real success of my event, in my opinion, was the conversation that followed. The interests of the panel members varied enough to provide for a broad, yet deep conversation about topics like international development, global sustainability, preserving culture, and the importance of the environment in traditional cultures, particularly in African regions. Since it was my first experience with a panel discussion of any kind, I had almost all of the questions scripted, and directed toward individuals, rather than the panel at large. I think that if I were to do an event like this again, I would probably write more questions directed at the whole group in order to get varying opinions on the same questions to increase perspectives. Overall, though, I think that the combination of the film and the conversation was very thought provoking and went very well.
One of the greatest challenges that I had planning my event only became evident right before the event itself started. I assumed that 2:00 p.m. on a Wednesday would be an open enough time for students in general that I would at least half-fill a room. Apparently, I was wrong, as my attendance fell short of my expectation. I chose to publicize my event via social media and email rather than in print, which, in hindsight, may have been an overconfident move. However, I think the small attendance actually contributed to a more intimate discussion with the panel, and I am still very pleased with how the event went.
One of the biggest things that I got from the event was the networking. First and foremost, I realized how easy it is to contact people at Penn State, regardless of their position, and how willing they are to help with student endeavors. I am very grateful to each of my panelists for being so willing to help with my event. More specifically, I also made a connection that may benefit me down the line in my academic career. Dr. Maretzki is a director of the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge at Penn State, and since cultural preservation in the face of development is something that I am very interested in, she is someone who I could potentially work or collaborate with in the future, which is very exciting.
Overall, I am very happy with how my event went. I am also very happy it’s over, as it was A LOT of work. It was a great experience figuring out how to plan, organize, and host an event totally from scratch, and I’m sure that next time I have to host something of this nature it will be much less intimidating. Finally, shout-out to Ben and Megan for their great events as well! Go interns!