Merging cultures

Seth Harris

Students of modern languages and global affairs at SDSU will “WALC” together to increase their presence and impact on campus.



The Global Studies Club is merging with the Spanish, German and French clubs to boost numbers and participation.


In a recent move by SDSU administration, the Global Studies program moved into the Department of Modern Languages and is now located in Wagner Hall. The proposed new name would include “Global Studies” in its title, a move that would signify the change to the department and its student organizations.


What used to be the Global Studies and the modern languages clubs are combining into one significantly larger organization named World Affairs and Languages Club, or WALC.


At the beginning of the Fall Semester, Molly Enz, assistant professor and coordinator for Global Studies, said modern languages incorporated the Global Studies program into its department. The merger finalized a relationship that had been in place since the Global Studies program’s inception in 2005 under Dr. Nels Granholm.


“We knew most of the students anyway and had been advising them and teaching many of the courses within (Global Studies),” Enz said. “It was just a logical transition, and part of becoming a global citizen is being cross-culturally competent and knowing another language and what’s going on in the world in general.”


Enz is excited for the merger of the languages and Global Studies clubs. She said the combination seemed like a logistical choice in order to help the clubs expand and increase the productivity of professors who would otherwise be involved in multiple individual clubs.


“There was so much overlap we didn’t want students to have to go to events and activities for four separate clubs. So to streamline them made a lot of sense to increase participation and be able to do more creative things,” she said.


With a decrease in the number of faculty advisers needed for the Department of Modern Languages and Global Studies, the faculty will rotate the position of club adviser. The current adviser for WALC is Eckhard Rolz, associate professor of everything German in the department.


Rolz said the club’s council is made up of the president and vice presidents of the four individual clubs and that each club donated $200 to help WALC get started. The council also elects a chair and other members for representation.


The problem of participation has always plagued the smaller clubs that now make up WALC, but Rolz said he thinks it’s a “good idea to combine resources and manpower.”


“I hope they’ll be more active than all the individual clubs. It’s more of an over-arching club that’s more visible on the campus and in the community, and it can actually do really cool things like work with the South Dakota Worlds Affair Council and support good causes on campus,” he said.


Even though the clubs will be merging into one organization, Students’ Association Senator At-Large Cole Breuer said the clubs will be sub-clubs within the larger WALC. As a senior global studies and French double major, Breuer is the chair of WALC and was previously the co-president of the Global Studies Club.


“They will still retain their name, but going from the university standpoint, they won’t technically exist. It’s more for designing events around that (sub-club),” he said.


The new organization’s council is currently going through the process of developing its constitution, which is being done by the club’s council. Breuer said the club will start its activities next semester and will provide greater benefits with the increased size.


“We can get a huge turnout for events that we do, and we will have more ideas coming from each of the sub-clubs. We will be able to have a more global focus on things, and we really want … to have a mixture of international and domestic students on campus and create more of a dialogue between different cultures,” he said. “There’s a wealth of information on this campus.”


As the club finalizes its constitution and prepares for its first semester, Breuer said it’s important for the club to impact students and the community members.


“I’m hoping that we as students can come up with issues that are very important to us in this century. We live in a globalized world and I hope to bring events to campus that gets a dialogue going between groups and to help understand issues that are relevant to all of us right now,” he said.