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CSU and international relations should go hand in hand

Why should we care about the extreme pollution problem facing China? Why does the political and social turmoil in Sudan concern the CSU body? Why should we care about the protests in Ukraine or the genocide in Syria?

Brooke Lake

Maybe I should ask a simpler question.

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What are you prone to see on a warm September day sitting on the Oval? An ungodly amount of squirrels darting between the trees, probably people playing Frisbee on the lawn and a mess of bikes, backpacks and books along with faculty and your fellow students in transit between classes.

What’s more is that those students you see are not a homogenous looking bunch. They are as diverse as they are valued. They are from all over the U.S., China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Vietnam, Russia, Australia and scores of other countries.

It is impossible to think of CSU without including its international population just as it is impossible to sit in the Oval and not see a diverse student population walking past. In fact CSU was awarded the 2013 “Senator Paul Simon National Award for Outstanding Campus Internationalization.”

With over 1,600 international students representing over 90 countries, there are over 1,600 reasons why CSU should care about international relations and global citizenry. Politics aside, it is imperative to concern ourselves with the world around us because our Ram blood is one that is internationally tied.

I take my role as a global citizen seriously because I seriously care about my community of international friends.

I care about the toxic pollution in China because I know my friend Mei, from Calculus class, worries about her beloved grandmother living in Hong Kong with emphysema. Mei is worried the pollution will be a source of suffering for her Grandmother’s already weak lungs.

I actually am concerned with recent turmoil in Sudan because that meant the mother of my best friend, Habiba, was almost stranded in Khartoum during a recent visit to relatives. I will never forget when I was huddled next to Habiba as we sat by her phone waiting to hear if her mother’s attempt to sneak out of Sudan and fly home safely via Egypt was successful or not.

I take the time to understand the conflict in Syria because my dear friend Sarah, a fellow CSU Ram, tells me through sobs of how she was forced to leave her family’s home in Homs in order to escape the violence. She left behind a room full of treasured books, friends and neighbors, and a lifetime of memories.

When our friends suffer, we suffer. When they laugh, we smile and when they win, we rejoice and when they call us in the wee hours of the morning, we answer because there is a mutual understanding of what it means to be community.

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Community is a value that has been spoken over me since day one my freshman year. As a CSU Ram I know that my university values community and upholds its commitments towards strengthening it with every incoming freshman class.

That community extends to all students current and alumni, living in Fort Collins and abroad.

I care about international relations because I am a citizen not just of the United States, but of the world. As a CSU Ram it is imperative to look at ourselves as the diverse student population that we are and recognize that we are all global citizens.

In Brief:

It is impossible to think about CSU without thinking about all of its international students

I take my role as an international seriously because I care about my international friends

We need to recognize the diversity of this campus, and appreciate that

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