The performers of Cultural Nigh 2019, hosted at UWS on March 2, 2019
UW-Superior has been celebrating the diversity of students over the past 126 years. As if it were holding a world map, UW-Superior gives students a glimpse of the broader world by inviting international students from more than 40 different countries.
The efforts to harmonize the uniqueness of all students has been accelerated by one of the university’s oldest and most influential student organizations, the World Student Association (WSA). Since the organization’s establishment in 1966 as the International Relations Club, it has been significantly contributing to this community, making people more aware of the beauty of diversity.
Stan Spearman, who wrote a guest editorial to the Peptomist’s Dec. 1, 1966 issue, said that the club will “not only…help foreign students, it will provide a golden opportunity for American students to broaden their scope of the world beyond the boundaries of the United States, learning of different customs, languages, […] and ways of life, without traveling of (sic) the campus of SSU.” As Spearman notes, the WSA’s mission is to not only make a strong bond with international students, but to also connect local students.
Each year, the WSA board members host Cultural Night. Reflecting on last year’s cultural night, Sudarshan Choudhury, then-president of WSA, said, “WSA accomplished its mission of bringing the world closer. Our goal has always been to bring people from all across the globe together and there is no better way of doing this than Cultural Night.” According to Choudhury, the event was planned and prepared for months by both international and local students. This year’s Cultural Night will take place on March 28, at 5:30 p.m.
The very first Cultural Night was hosted by the WSA in 1997. The Oct. 22, 1997 edition of the Promethean notes that the WSA hosted this event wit the intention of showing the colors of international students and demonstrating the oneness of the world. Besides the fashion show and stage performances, the WSA set up booths, displayed cultural items, and offered people the opportunity to have conversations with international students.
Salisa Hochstetler, the current international student services coordinator and WSA adviser, used to be a WSA board member. Looking back on her days in WSA, she said, “I joined WSA in 2008 when I first got here. I was involved as a member and art officer for Cultural Night. I participated by performing and carrying the flag, as well. I made many friends from all around the world because of WSA.”
“Our goal has always been to bring people from all across the globe together,” said Choudhury. “I loved the fact that as a student, I had the power to make a greater impact in the society and bring the campus closer to the community.” Hochstetler also added, “WSA will continue to thrive, and I hope that we can continue to grow.”
As Spearman noted in 1966, “It [WSA] will be a club with fresh, foreign, imaginative, and sometimes oriental ideas.” The ultimate mission of WSA has not changed since the beginning, and it won’t change any time soon.