‘International Dr Pepper Hour’ celebrates Global Friendship Program

Global Baylor hosts International Education Week, having events like International Dr Pepper Hour. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

The Center for Global Engagement partnered with the Paul L. Foster Success Center and hosted an International Dr Pepper Hour on Tuesday in conjunction with the celebration of International Education Week on campus.

Brandon Hoye, international programs coordinator within the Center for Global Engagement, helped run the event, conversing with students and faculty about the program’s initiatives.

“The Center for Global Engagement is partnering with Know Your Neighbor Week, which is basically trying to raise awareness and celebrate different types of historically underserved populations over the course of time,” Hoye said. “So today, we’re able to celebrate our international student population by being able to highlight who they are by showing the Powerpoints and being able to celebrate them being here and by also having some popcorn as a fun way to have a conversation to chat about it.”

Know Your Neighbor Week will last from Nov. 8 to Nov. 12, with several activities, conversations and panels available throughout the week.

Its website describes the event as a “weeklong deep-dive into many of the enriching facets of the Baylor community.”

Global Baylor partnered with Know Your Neighbor Week for Dr Pepper Hour to highlight the Center for Global Engagement, offering students information on how to get involved within its community.

“One of the things we really try to highlight, especially through our office, is something called our Global Friendship Program, where we match U.S. students with international students who are both here at Baylor,” Hoye said. “I like to joke that it’s like if you have a pen pal, but if your pen pal lived down the hall from you.”

Grace Semple-Paul, JD, assistant director of international students and scholar services, said the Dr Pepper Hour event provided information about the Global Friendship Program for those interested.

“This is a program that allows us to pair domestic students with our incoming international students for at least one semester, and what that does is gives the domestic student the opportunity to share and assist that international student acclimating to the U.S. community,” Semple-Paul said.

Semple-Paul said there are about 85 countries represented within the Baylor student community.

Arlington sophomore Aubrey Gilliam, a student global ambassador for the Center for Global Engagement, said she participates in the Global Friendship Program.

“My mentee is in Saudi Arabia, and she is a remote Baylor student, and we are connecting through weekly Zoom calls and getting to talk about the differences between American and Saudi culture,” Gilliam said. “It’s going to benefit her because when she comes to campus, she’ll know at least one person here, but it’s benefited me for sure — just getting to know somebody who actually lives abroad and getting to hear their perspective — because I really admire how international students are so brave and courageous to come to a new place.”

At Dr Pepper Hour, the Center for Global Engagement had tables set up with information about the Global Friendship Program and a slideshow presentation showcasing and celebrating the program’s initiatives and connections.

“The Center for Global Engagement wants to come out and share a little bit about what we do as an office but also to make people more aware of the diversity on campus and to start looking for those connections far beyond this week,” Gilliam said. “So we’re sharing some snacks and raising awareness about what we do as ambassadors and about our Global Friendship Program through the office.”

Lexington, Ky., senior Catherine Van Tatenhove, a student global ambassador for the Center for Global Engagement, said the center provides these events to further understanding and knowledge on campus.

“We try to continue to develop relationships with the international students within the year by putting on events every month,” Van Tatenhove said.

Along with Dr Pepper Hour, International Education Week plans to host an International Tea and Coffee Hour from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 10, along with other events and activities.