FUISA Brings Awareness to International Life on Campus Through Fashion

By: Catherine McLaughlin, Diversions Editor

Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Furman University Interna

tional Student Organization (FUISA) put on its annual International Fashion Show CLP as part of Furman’s celebration of International Student Education Week. Students and faculty members assembled to celebrate one of the three main events hosted by FUISA each year.

This year, the fashion show represented 14 countries: China, Pakistan, Vietnam, Japan, Burma, South Korea, Bangladesh, India, Greece, France, Egypt, Ghana, Brazil and Nicaragua. Each country had their own showcase, with students modeling outfits that ranged from informal and everyday attire to formal, ceremonial attire. Music and dance completed each country’s catwalk. New to the fashion show this year was a showcase on pajamas that vary from the those of traditional Western culture.

The outfits that students wore for the fashion show came from FUISA’s members. Most of the students that walked on stage are members of FUISA. The organization also invited non-international students and friends of FUISA members to be a part of the show. “Members recruit their friends through word of mouth,” Co-Vice President, Aishwarya Tripathi said. “We also reach out to diversity organizations on campus to see if they are interested in participating.”

FUISA President Akanksha Kaushik spoke about the event’s importance to the FUISA community. She said, “It’s a really important event for us as international students because it brings us together as a community.” Kaushik added, “There are times where we feel like we don’t fit in on campus, but when we are together in our clothes, we feel like we are at home and we feel like a part of campus and we are recognized.”

Prior to its current location in McAlister Auditorium the past few years, the CLP used to take place in the Watkins Room. Due to student interest and the inability to accommodate all the students who were interested in attending the event due to fire codes, the organization moved the fashion show to McAlister.

This student interest has been encouraging to FUISA. “A lot of people mention it is their favorite CLP,” Kaushik said. “It let us have fun as a group and spreads our awareness as international students on campus which is what I think is so great about it.”

Connor Bradley, Assistant Director of International Student Engagement spoke of the event’s importance of Furman’s campus. “It allows our international students to showcase a part of their culture that other Furman students might not get to see all the time,” he said.

Bradley discussed fashion as a visual representation of international culture. “I think fashion particularly sticks out because it is so different,” he said. “There are a lot of cultural importance to fashion and different meanings behind different clothes.” He added that the fashion show allows American domestic students to start engaging in international student life at Furman in a way that is easy and fun. “It allows them to start to think about other cultures and aspects of them they might not see on a daily basis,” he said.

“[FUISA]’s an awesome community,” Tripathi said about the organization itself. “There are so few international students that we need American support. We are an isolated community and we are always happy to get to know more people and add them to our community,” she adds. “That is our goal,” Kaushik added, “to help international students integrate better on campus and to have campus better integrate with us.”

“We need a Furman community to keep us alive,” Tripathi said. “We would love for people to contribute whatever they can.” She encourages any students interested to come attend the organization’s club meetings. “Everyone is welcome.”

In addition to the fashion show, FUISA hosts the annual International Dance Festival and International Food Festival in the spring semester. Additionally, the organization meets bi-weekly on Thursdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Johns Hall, Room 107. For more information on FUISA and the organization’s meetings, students are encouraged to contact organization secretary Julia Freeman at Julia. freeman@furman.edu.

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