Why we're the Finest tU offers
Every year, Student Association recognizes the best student organizations on campus. We proved ourselves last year by winning first, here's how we're going to keep that title.
How does your organization utilize the resources provided by SA?
Like every other organization, SA provided us with $6,000 budget from senate. We can consider each organization's allocation to be an investment from SA. As with any investment, one would expect proper utilization of every penny. AIS has done more than just that. Every penny from SA has been used to rebrand AIS. Every penny from SA has been used to give quality and life to every event. Every penny from SA has been used to create a lasting impact on the TU community, Tulsa community, and global community.
AIS has a very close and mutual relationship with Student Association. For our Welcome Back Picnic we collaborated with the International Student Relations Department with SA. On top of that we allocated a booth for SA to join us in greeting new students and welcoming back old ones as well as recruiting new people to be of SA's cabinet members and Senators. This gives SA access to the 450 students that attended the picnic, both international and domestic. For soccer tournament, SA participated by forming both Women's and Men's team.
For International Bazaar, we again collaborated with ISR department of SA. However this collaboration extended beyond a single department. The involvement of SA in this event goes up to the executive team as well. President Haley Anderson and her grandmother established and ran the first ever Native American booth. Student Awareness department along with TU pride participated for the LGBT pride parade in our parade of nations. There are record numbers of SA volunteers during the set up and preparation of the event. Treasurer Chase Cocking and Senator Joey Zitzman represented the USA in the parade of Nations. This is the benchmark of a very strong collaboration, especially in a non-financial and non-material way. Together, we have created arguably one of the most impactful events on Campus this year. Without SA's help and resources we couldn't imagine the event would be as immense as it was.
SA Community service department and AIS collaborated to make Relay for Life 2017 happen, an event to raise awareness and money for cancer.
please explain the events your organization hosts for the campus community. please include the size, scope and growth of these events.
The Association of International Students is the foremost organization at TU in terms of showcasing culture, diversity, community service and our newfound commitments to tackle global issues like equality, climate change as well as cancer. Our 2 flagship events, International Bazaar in the Fall (named International Night Market in 2016), and International Night in the Spring, are the best examples of this. Each of these events encapsulates a broader sense of diversity in its own way.
International Night Market: International Bazaar 2016
In November 2016, the International Night Market treated over 630 people to an evening of exotic food, music and a parade. This is a first ever major overhaul to the International Bazaar which used to simply be arrangements of booths and fashion show for many years. The setup of the event, a series of tents with string lights, made the night market theme come to life, inspired by the markets of South-East Asia. Once the guests came in to the Great Hall, it did not look like its the Student Union anymore. Our engineering team has successfully transformed the Great Hall giving the audience an immersive experience that transports them to an actual street market halfway around the world. This year also saw the debut of Parade of Nations and retirement of the fashion show after its decades long run. A realization to our commitment to equality and broader range of diversity, for the first time ever AIS involves the participation of TU Pride and Native American in this year's bazaar. The way many international organisations adapted their own booth to the theme made it all the more spectacular. This year’s attendance set an all time record--the International bazaar was attended by only 400 people in the previous year-- and also saw TU’s President Dr Clancy attend, along with his wife--in fact in several meetings, Dr. Clancy has listed the International Night Market as the best event he has ever attended in TU. This can be attributed to our creative marketing campaigns which include Facebook video advertisement, blog postings and flashmob in the Union.
Teaser for International Night Market .
World Icons: International Night 2017
In a few weeks, TU will witness another event of large scale: International Night. This year, our theme, ‘World Icons’, invites organisations to share the story of a significant person from their country or region. They have been given the freedom of presenting this story on stage in whatever way they wish, and we look forward to a number of creative performances. More than 500 people are set to be in for another evening of cultural diversity, and of course, fine food, when this event comes to the Lorton Performance Center on Saturday, 8 April.
Welcome Back Picnic
Rewinding to the Fall semester, AIS held its annual Welcome Back Picnic in the late August heat. With the new students settling in, it was a delight to see an attendance in excess of 450. For the first time ever, this event featured inflatables, dunk tanks, mini-zoo, and a snapchat filter. While the intention of this event was to welcome everyone back to the semester with an evening of fun and food, it is also something that served as a point for many of the new students to interact with returning students. This year, rather than just limiting the event to be a social outing for students, the AIS team took the opportunity to kick of the Project Earth program, intended to raise more awareness about environmental issues. In particular, AIS set up recycling bins for every regular bin to encourage people to dispose of waste in the appropriate manner.
Later on in the semester, AIS held its annual Soccer Tournament, which, for the first time, featured a separate competition for women, again encapsulating the growth of our events and our commitment to gender equality. There were about 100 participants across 12 men’s and 2 women’s teams. Alongside this event was held a fundraising booth for breast cancer. The Philanthropy department of the organization set out to raise funds through the sale of drinks and specially-baked cookies. The continued efforts for Project Earth once again saw the use of recycling bins.
While the above encapsulate the largest of AIS’s events, there are a number of events that, while smaller in terms of attendance, have been critical in the growth of AIS over the past year. Regularly during semesters, AIS has held fundraisers, or some other form of community service. For instance, in the week after the Soccer Tournament, there was a follow-up event where people were invited to write postcards to support those affected by breast cancer. Such small initiatives have seen AIS grow in its scope.
Cultural Exchange Program with Kendall-Whittier Elementary
This has eventually led to the development of the cultural exchange program with Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, with giving opportunities to various organisations going over to share the culture of their country with young children every other week. Events such as this show how AIS’s scope has grown beyond the realm of TU, and has expanded into the wider community.
For the first visit, AIS and Indonesian Student Association highlighted the natural beauty of Indonesia as well as raising awareness about the impacts of climate change in hope to make the children better stewards to our planet in the future.
Break The Wall with Love & Welcome to america Luncheon.
The political climate of the United States in this past year has been especially difficult for international and Muslim students. Immediately after the signing of the surprise executive order barring travel from 7 countries, the International Student Services has been bombarded with concerns from many students. These events made students wary about their immigration status, their future and their sense of belonging in this country. We took action by holding two events. Break the Wall with Love, is anevent where we built giant paper walls and attach paper bricks on them. The idea is for visitors to tear down each paper 'brick' and write an empowering message to our wary students. The Welcome to America lunch encapsulates the idea that no matter where you come from, your race, your gender, sexual orientation and faith you belong here in TU and in this country.
Red Nose Day Photo Contest
This event is unique in a way because this event was not held on campus, but around the world. Red Nose Day (May 26th) is a national campaign to raise money to help children in some of the poorest communities in the world. This year, AIS is holding a contest to spread this charity's mission not only to our campus community, but each student's communities.
Summer Pool Party
Last summer, we welcomed English Institute students to our great TU campus by throwing a pool party with floaties and food!
How does your organization further your members’ education and their development?
As an international organization, primary goal is to educate members about different cultures; Bazaar and Night serve as primary examples of this
But also look to educate about other issues; community service events have highlighted this well
As an international organisation, AIS has the primary goal of educating members about different cultures. As mentioned previously, International Bazaar and International Night serve as primary examples of this.
And while the members of the organisation are, strictly speaking, the international students of TU, the scope of AIS’s events has not only let to their education and development, but also the education and development of the wider TU community.
One of the unique aspects about our organisation is the variety of ways in which our members can be involved. Some international students are a part of the executive committee, some are part of the newly-formed departments. Other international students who may not be officers as such, but who are involved with another cultural organisation, also have the chance to participate in our events, International Bazaar, International Night, Cultural Exchange, and Soccer Tournament in particular.
It is actually wrong to say that they ‘have the chance’ to participate in these events. For without the contributions of those organisations, the marquee events wouldn’t nearly be as extensive. This shows how our members, even though they may not all be officers, are often a part of our plans and decisions. They all have the opportunity to be involved in our goal of spreading cultural awareness.
Finally, with the large attendance seen by all of our events, it is clear that most of our members are exposed to this education and development in some way or other, even if they don’t participate in the planning and organisation.
Expansion of the Administration
For the first time ever in our four decades run as AIS, we expanded the our team beyond elected officials. Furthermore, the expansion of the AIS administration to even more officers has resulted in an even broader outreach to our members, as well as a greater number of local students. Bridging the gap between the international and the domestic remains a challenge, and by incorporating more local students in the setup, we have gone a long way to addressing this.
We established departments such as Communications, Videography, Environmental Policy, Innovation and Technology, Philanthropy and Community Service. This broad range of fields allows our new officers to specialize on their interests and hobby and develop them to be something bigger. As a result, we have tremendous talents across many fields. This is evident in our work, particularly in graphics, marketing, videography and photography. In fact, three of our officers has established startups since they garnered experience and credibility from working with AIS. Videographer Abdallah Al Battashi founded his video company, Battashi Media--very well known amongst organizers TU; Chairman Luke Lau established Luke Lau Photography Co.; and President Aiken Sujana started Ampersand, a marketing and graphics design services company.
Since the beginning of this administration we have offered about 37 hours of service for our members and other students. This includes raising funds for cancer, serving random visitors of the Student Union hot cocoa in the holiday season, or help setting up for events.
Another unique opportunity for our international students are Cultural Exchange with Kendall Whittier Elementary initiative, where each international and domestic student organization visits the elementary school to teach a class of second and third graders about their culture, tradition and country. This opportunity is enriching to both the kids and our members.
Please describe the way in which your organization gives back to the TU community, the city of Tulsa, or other communities.
Needless to say, every event conducted is of the highest quality and has something to offer to the TU community, with International Bazaar and International Night being the best examples
But additionally, we do have separate events dedicated to giving back; service events, such as booths, recycling awareness, etc.
Every event conducted by AIS is done so with the highest quality in mind. Every event, whether it be the fun of an evening in the August sun, the chill and dew of an October morning, or the warm glow of lighting on a November night, contributes to TU in its unique way. The chance for members of TU to participate and attend our events, whether they be domestic or international, is something we treasure.
At the same time, we look to take time out from the planning of these large-scale events to help the university and wider community on a smaller scale. As mentioned previously, events such as the breast cancer awareness week, and the Project Earth campaign are examples of the small-scale efforts to make a difference in the community.
AIS officers also participated in the annual SA/TU Service Day, held in February, where we went out to the Medical Supplies Network Inc. (MSNI). MSNI has spent two decades running a local warehouse for collecting donated medical equipments and shipping them to 39 countries in need, particularly in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. We're glad to have taken a small part of this global force for good.
Our efforts in giving back to the community have not ended there. We have also played a major role in organizing this year’s Relay for Life, a fundraiser intended to support cancer patients. We not only assisted in the planning of the event, but also raised funds as an organization, coming 2nd out of the participating teams, and also receiving the best rookie team award.
We also believe that reaching out to the community involves more than just community service; it involves a recognition of current affairs. In the wake of the recent presidential election and inauguration, many in the US have been wondering about what the near future holds. This also applies to those at TU. Needless to say, AIS has a part in dealing with this issue, at least at a local level. In line with that, AIS had the privilege of joining Dr Clancy and other members of the TU administration in an event held in late November. During this event, students were free to express their concerns, and ask the administrative team about support within the university community.
How does your organization work to embrace a diverse membership? This can be based on any number of metrics including class standing, academic major, residence (campus vs commuters), ethnic origin, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
All international students are a part of the organization.
It is vital to mention first that AIS encompasses all the international students at TU, and thereby is automatically inclusive of a diverse membership. Of course, our doors are not closed to domestic students, and so our true outreach is even broader. The make-up of our events’ attendance shows how we are able to embrace a diverse community.
Expansion of Leadership
One of the most important aspects of the growth of AIS over the past year has been the expansion of leadership beyond elected officers and introduction of various departments: PSE, Culinary Services, Videography, Innovation and Engineering, and Communications. This has had many important effects. It has allowed us to expand our administrative team from 12 to 29. This administration now comprises of students from 15 countries spanning 6 continents making it the most diverse in AIS history. This also includes 6 from the United States, a large step forward in our mission in bridging the gap between domestic and international students. Clearly, that has provided more opportunities to the wealth of talent at TU. It has also allowed AIS to hold more small-scale events, such as those mentioned previously.
An important part of the growth of AIS was the rebranding of our logo. It is not a distinctive part of our organisation. The rebranded logo has led to a rebranded website that has been maintained regularly, with links to articles about our events, to stories from the ‘Humans of TU’ program, and to registration forms and information about how to participate in our events. Couple this with our extensive social media outreach, including multiple videos that went viral (‘Welcome to TU’, ‘International Night Market Trailer’, ‘Happy Holidays’, and ‘Lunar New Year’ to name a few), and the organisation has been able to use this diverse membership to reach out further. Every department has played its role at some juncture. Our new visual identity embodies our new commitments towards diversity. For the first time ever, we observe the inclusion of TU LGBT Pride and Native Americans in our Bazaar. President Haley Anderson and the SA team also brought the Native American booth to represent the United States at the Bazaar, also another first. And in International Night, we have invited and have confirmation that Association of Black Collegians will participate in representing the U.S. in International Night. This is the first time that black history is portrayed on the stage of International Night.
Our collection of Social Media greetings for holidays.
Please provide any additional information that you feel is necessary for the TU’s Finest CommitteE
AIS entered this academic year with the intention of revolutionizing both our organization, our events and the TU community.
This began with the rebranded AIS logo and new-look website. It led to the restructuring of our administration and the creation of department, which served as a gateway to our completely revamped events. Every event we have held this year has been different from the past. The Welcome Back Picnic featured the kicking off of Project Earth, the Soccer Tournament featured a women’s competition for the first time, the International Night Market featured a lighting and booth setup completely different from past years’ events. And to look forward to, International Night will feature a unique story from a multitude of TU’s international organizations.
"When we see things like this, where essentially the world just comes together, it just warms our hearts. So, congratulations on such a nice wonderful evening and congratulations on such a strong vibrant organization. Well Done."
-President Clancy at International Night Market.