Eastern Michigan University International Student Association creates momentum following return to pre-pandemic format

Performers in the Colors in Harmony cultural talent show play drums while seated on the stage
A group performs in front of a live audience at the Colors in Harmony cultural talent show.

YPSILANTI – The Eastern Michigan University International Student Association works to cultivate an inclusive and supportive community on campus. Returning to a pre-pandemic format, the organization increased its community involvement during the 2022-2023 academic year, allowing students to connect with others with similar interests.

“Through our efforts, we strive to bridge the gap between domestic and international students, thereby fostering a sense of inclusivity in the EMU community and the surrounding areas,” said Chotika (Fah) Pitaktouyhan, president of the International Student Association. “The organization plays a vital role in raising awareness about the unique differences among individuals worldwide.”

According to Pitaktouyhan, organization members understand their role as representatives of international students. They recognize the importance of facilitating understanding and respect for diverse perspectives in the global community.

The organization works through the support of EMU’s Office for International Students and Scholars, whose goal is to engage the EMU and the local community in global awareness and learning.

“The International Students Association has done many things on campus to promote diversity and global learning,” said Esther Gunel, the organization’s advisor and director of the Office for International Students and Scholars. “I am proud to be their advisor to support their great work.”

In the past year, the organization has hosted ten events. On March 18, the organization hosted Colors in Harmony, a cultural talent show for students to showcase their culture onstage. The event drew nearly 250 participants. On April 13, the organization hosted Around the World in One Day in EMU’s Student Center in collaboration with Campus Life and E-dining. The event invited students to travel the world in one day through a Parade of Nations, an International presentation, a poster exhibition, and international food.

Recently, the International Student Association embarked on a local clothing project. Using donations from Colors in Harmony, the organization plans to utilize Swoop Pantry’s surplus of clothing donations and purchase additional clothing from local thrift shops to donate to local community shelters. The remaining funds will be donated to Swoop’s Pantry.

The organization plans to increase its efforts and number of events in the upcoming fall. The organization also plans to collaborate with more organizations and departments on campus.

“Having an International Student Association at EMU ensures that International students have a place to go when they feel like they need support,” said Pitaktouyhan. “We are here to make them feel like the organization could be their second home and that there are people to whom they can relate as international students.”

To learn more about EMU’s student organizations, including the International Student Association, visit the webpage. To learn more about the Office for International Students and Scholars, visit the webpage.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

May 03, 2023

Written by:
Andrew Fogle

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher