Campus organizations schedule on-campus showings of Wold Cup games
The 2014 World Cup kick-off game takes place Thursday. All around the world, shops will close, students will stay home and families will gather around the television to watch the start of the month-long tournament.
Though the World Cup is less recognized in the United States than in most parts of the world, several organizations at Oregon State University are pulling together to celebrate the global event.
"Our students have a huge interest in soccer," said Casey Glick, a student engagement coordinator for INTO OSU. "So we had been thinking ... what can we do to get our students really involved? We knew it was the perfect opportunity, because there's not much going on in the summer on campus."
Ismail Warsame, an international student adviser at OSU, grew up in Somalia and was surprised by how hard it was to find screenings of the games when he first came to Corvallis in 2010. When he first started work at OSU, there were roughly 1,200 international students on campus. Now, the population sits closer to 3,500.
Warsame sent out an email to several groups on campus, seeking to create some sort of event to get students watching the games.
"People responded," Warsame said. "We got together. At the time, I was only shooting for one or two events. It turned out people were interested in the entire World Cup, basically."
Four screenings, for the kick-off, the semifinals and the final games, will be held at the club level of Reser Stadium.
Representatives from campus recreational sports, International Students of OSU, University Housing & Dining Services, OSU men's and women's soccer teams, and OSU International Programs, will be present. It is likely that international students from Brazil will have a table, educating other students about some of the culture and practices of the 2014 World Cup location.
Screenings for the rest of the games will be held at various locations around campus, including the International Living-Learning Center, the Memorial Union, the International Resource Center and several residential dining halls.
"We're still pulling in new partnerships," Glick said. "Even if they aren't there for that first event, they can still join us."
Representatives from International Programs and INTO OSU agreed that timing was the most difficult factor to deal with when coordinating these events.
"This is a busy, busy time for a lot of people," Warsame said. "The kick-off game is finals week."
Still, campus organizations have been enthusiastic to participate.
"Oddly enough, I feel like the biggest struggle for me has been trying to get every partner involved because they're all so excited," said Allen Dean, the residential experience coordinator at INTO OSU. "Everybody wants to be a part of it. We don't want to leave anyone out."
The biggest hope is that students will find a shared passion and bond with their multicultural peers.
Glick explained that roughly two-thirds of international students stay for summer session at OSU. This year, that will equate to 800-900 students on campus, as well as 250-300 first-year international students coming in to start with OSU's summer session.
"We really look for, in the residence halls, especially during summer, opportunities for our current and our new students to get interactions with American students to practice English," Dean said.
He added that the World Cup could provide a unique series of interactions for both domestic and international students. He explained that typically, the American students lead international students to help them integrate. Because the World Cup is more largely celebrated outside of the U.S., international students will be able to take the lead and educate their American peers on the global event.
"It's all about this community," Glick said. "It's this global community focused on this sporting event. I think what we're really trying to do is bring our students in and bring our community here together. I'm really hoping this comes together (and) builds a community in which everyone just feels welcome."