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ISS invites all of campus to its latest event

By Andrew Shriner | Contributor 

International Student Society (ISS) is throwing a party on campus. Or, rather, a “Par-Tea.” If you like international coffee, tea, snacks and performances, then this is your kind of party.

This year’s Par-Tea is a new spin on a time-tested event. Formerly known as the “International Coffeehouse,” the event has been a November tradition since before this year’s seniors came to Taylor. When asked about the name change, ISS President and senior Sophia Hdija said it was a part of an attempt to communicate that the event is open to all students, not just international students.

“We want to communicate (the goal of the event) better,” Hdija said. “We really want people to know that we are super welcoming, and we want everyone to participate, and we want everyone to get involved and just feel welcomed.”

The Par-Tea aims to represent the various cultures represented at Taylor through the foods and drinks available, as well as the internationally-themed performances, such as a piece by “The Jungle Cats.”

The event is very casual, and students are invited to come and go as they please.

“Basically, it’s come, have fun, mingle, eat, drink,” said ISS Vice President and senior Gabriela Ortiz.

ISS puts on several events throughout the year and wants all of their events to deepen connections between the student body and to help students — both American and international — grow to understand one another’s cultures better.

Pictures from preparation for the ISS coffeehouse in years past. (Photograph provided by Christine East)

Pictures from preparation for the ISS coffeehouse in years past. (Photograph provided by Christine East)

Ortiz added that, in her mind and in the minds of many international students, everyone is an international student and we all have valuable culture to share.

“It’s just so cool because, you know, we all have something to share,” Ortiz said. “Like, ‘I didn’t know that works like that for you because for me it’s so different.’ And (Americans) are international for us and we’re international for you, so we’re all internationals.”

ISS has placed a heavy emphasis on reaching out to the American students this year.

Junior Madigan McKeough is a prime example of this. She is a member of the ISS cabinet even though she is an American student.

“I’m extremely American literally in every way,” McKeough said. “I’m not (a Mu Kappa member), not anything, and I’m just still accepted and loved in this environment of people, and they’re great! All Americans are welcome and can come!”

The Par-Tea is tonight at 7 p.m. in the LaRita Boren Campus Center, and ISS hopes to see all students — international and American — there to share coffee, drinks and snacks and enjoy cultural performances.

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