International students organize Crafts Evening

The Office of Global Education presented International Education Week from Nov. 16 to Nov. 21.  Out of the numerous events celebrating Midwestern’s international students, the African Student Organization (ASO) took the initiative in hosting Crafts Evening, where all students could participate in making bracelets.  On Nov. 18 and 19, music resonated through Wichita I & II to welcome participating students with the same happening in Comanche on the 16.  Once their temperatures were checked and their crafting materials in hand, students sat at tables to enjoy the relaxing environment and organize their wooden beads on foot long strings.

“Here, we’re making African bracelets, from various African countries, and we’re trying to show and tell people what kind of jewelry is made in Africa” Tobi Oladipo, the president of ASO, said.

The wooden beads given to the participants have various designs and sizes, signifying the diverse cultural backgrounds of African countries.

“We just put different types of beads together, and we have designs on them,” Oladipo said.  “So, put together in the end, it becomes a nice bracelet, or necklace, or anklet.”

Students participating in the crafts evening embraced the freedom to create their own bracelet.  According to Iana Bullard, a social work major, the event was a good location to relieve some stress for end of semester projects.

“[The event] is a nice, calm thing to do,” Bullard said.  “I feel like it’s something else to think about instead of school or work and stuff like that since most of us are piling on work”.

Embracing the spirit of International Education Week, Iana Bullard celebrated the crafts event as a way of appreciating African artistic expression.

“Personally, beading isn’t a part of my culture, but I find it fascinating to know how other people do their own jewelry.”

Students collectively appreciated the culture behind crafts evening, and each student had a different way of organizing their beads.  Some students went where the wind took them, while others had unique strategies to arrive at their creation.

“First I came up with a pattern,” Esther Edwards, a student participating in the event, said. “I set out the big [beads] and then I went around [the necklace] and had this next size to fit between”.

The beads represented both the diverse artistic expression of African culture and the diversity in students’ artistic expression.  Happening in the last week before students return home, Crafts Evening reminded participants of the vibrant environment and activities MSU and International Organizations have to offer to the campus.