SA needs to do more for international community

I appreciate that there were three tickets running for important leadership positions on our campus: Students’ Association president and vice president.

As I watched the debate March 15, I learned about the candidates, where they come from, their majors, the organizations they are involved with and their achievements.

The debate gave candidates a platform to share what makes them stronger than their competitors.

But I had a question I wanted answered at the debate.

As an international student, I wanted to know if any of the tickets had a plan for the international community. Through Facebook, I asked them “What plans do you have for international students at SDSU? Are you aware of their population and concern? How do you plan to communicate to this community on campus?”

Each ticket expressed concern for international students and offered ideas for improvement. They said they’ve attended meetings addressing the “Muslim ban.” They want to improve communication, transportation and the Multicultural Center. Almost everyone shared their support for the international community on campus. 

But their answers didn’t satisfy the question.

The candidates’ answers reflected no constructive plans. For the past two years, I have been a student here, and I have not seen SA reach out to international students or cultural organizations to learn about their concerns. These concerns include housing over breaks, limited food options, transportation and more.

There have been conversations about diversity on campus, but little has been done in terms of regulations. People often assume the Multicultural Center and the Black Student Alliance are part of  international affairs, and this misconception reflects the lack of education about diversity and the international community on campus.

SA has failed to answer the needs of around 900 international students. We have cultural organizations representing various parts of the world, but it is not solely their responsibility to promote their culture.

It is important to recognize the presence of various cultures on campus and encourage involvement of domestic students. This knowledge of culture and commitment to involvement is especially important when the current political climate is based in false rhetoric.

Elected SA senators and executive members can help educate and inform domestic students about SDSU’s international community. This will, in turn, help the international community feel more comfortable sharing their concerns with their peers. As a student leader, I hope the ticket elected as SA president and vice president make visible changes that inspire the whole student body and do their best to represent the international community.

 

Palak Barmaiya is a nutrition and dietetics major and can be reached at [email protected]