Rachel Smith | Reporter
At Cross Cultural Engagement’s Cross Cultural Dinner, domestic and international students and Leadership Living Learning Community members met Tuesday night to discuss the culture of LEAD LLC.
The dinner began with a responsive reading and prayer. The event was live streamed on Facebook as a panel of five LEAD students discussed their program. Cross Cultural Engagement offers dinners to students, staff and faculty every other week, often partnering with student organizations to discuss different cultures over international cuisine.
“We believe that Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbor,”Josh Ritter, assistant director for formation, said. “How do we do that if we don’t know how to get to know our neighbor?”
Anaheim, Calif. sophomore Allie McMurtry served as a panelist.
“For me, I think the biggest thing that makes [LEAD] stand out is, as a freshman, you’re assigned to an upperclassman mentor,” McMurtry said. “I think it helps build a sense of community within the hall.”
As a social work major, McMurtry said being a mentor has fed into her passion for helping people.
“It’s helped me build skills I think a lot of people don’t get unless they take a leadership course or participate in LEAD,” McMurtry said.
McMurtry said her mentors kept her grounded and helped her through hard times during her freshman year.
“Long story short, if I wasn’t in LEAD I would probably be sitting back at home in California,” McMurtry said. “They showed me the big picture. I could not be more thankful for the LEAD program.”
Cross Cultural Dinner’s slogan is “getting to know your neighbors, one dinner at a time.” Graduate student Karel Kalecky came to America in August 2015 from ŽdЗr nad OrlicТ, a village in the Czech Republic.
“I like the school very much,” Kalecky said. “The student life is much more studentfriendly, more developed than what I’m used to in Prague.”
Kalecky has stepped into some leadership roles at dinners after attending the events with a friend.
“The most valuable thing I’ve learned is probably listening to people more, having no stereotypes and managing the events a little bit more,” Kalecky said.
Shawnee, Okla., Truett Seminary student Chris Williams became involved with Cross Cultural Dinners as an intern with Spiritual Life.
“There is beauty of diversity at Baylor,” Williams said. “We think that everyone’s story is sacred and valuable, and we want to carry that mentality outside the dinner as well, into everyday interactions.”