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Crabtree to host international students

February 7, 2014

Beginning this summer, Crabtree Hall will be transformed into a global living and learning community that will give domestic and international students a chance to live together.

Starting in August, around 150 international students, mostly from Brazil and Saudi Arabia, will be starting to make their way to UW-River Falls for a semester abroad.

The plan for the new global living and learning community is to give students the opportunity to interact with both domestic and international students on a completely different level. The new international theme for Crabtree Hall will help break down language barriers between students, as well as cultural differences.

Kenneth White, the assistant director of Residence Life, is one of the faculty members on campus who has been working on changing the theme of Crabtree into a global living and learning community.

“The new community will work on a number of different levels,” White said. “What it is entailing right now is that we are hoping to partner international students with domestic students in roommate situations so that we can help to bridge the gap between international students and domestic students.”

One of the requirements of living in Crabtree Hall once it becomes a global living and learning community is that domestic students will have to live with international students. “The plan is to have the entire hall half international students and half domestic students,” White said.

Although the hall will be mixed with domestic and international students, this is not the only dormitory that will house international students next school year.

Vanessa Tackman, a Resident Assistant in Crabtree, hopes to be a part of the new community and help integrate international and domestic students together.

“In my opinion, the goal of the new community would be global engagement which will enhance learning, and connect students with people of different cultures,” Tackman said. “Also, some international students learning English will have a better experience being around non-international students and will be able to pick up the English language a lot faster.”

The new global community will also be beneficial for domestic students who want to study abroad or are returning from international travel.

“I think that the changes that are being made to Crabtree will bring more international students to River Falls, which will create a more diverse campus,” Tackman said. “I’m excited about the changes, and what it will bring to the campus as a whole. I think it will build diversity and more global engagement.”

White is also excited and hopeful about the positive changes and global perspective that the new global living and learning community can bring to campus.

“There are other campuses across America who’ve done similar initiatives,” said White. “But I think we are ahead of the curve on it and I think it is a great and wonderful opportunity for this campus.”