The International Students Association will have officer elections in the coming weeks.
ISA has seven open positions: president, vice president, treasurer, chaplain, AD/PR director and sports director, said Veronica Whitt, coordinator of international student services and ISA adviser. To run, one must be a member of ISA for at least a year, and specifically for the office of president, ISA prefers someone who has prior experience on the officer team.
“We’re mainly looking for people who have a heart for the international community in ACU and a heart to serve,” Whitt said. “Somebody who’s open-minded, culturally sensitive, that kind of thing. Somebody who loves being a part of the diversity we have on campus and is an advocate for that.”
The process includes several steps, Whitt said. The first step is online applications, which lasts two weeks and closes March 2. Next, there is a week of candidate interviews, which will take place from March 5-9. Those approved to run are allowed to campaign from March 19-29. Those running will give campaign speeches during ISA chapel on March 29, and then Whitt will open online voting after the chapel until midnight on March 30. Winners are announced by the next Monday.
Whitt, who served as ISA president during her senior year, said ISA became her home away from home during her time at ACU.
“We like it to be that place for our international students,” Whitt said. “It’s all about community and enjoying being a part of a group that respects and appreciates cultural diversity but also wants to share that with the rest of the ACU community.”
ISA isn’t just for international students.
“One of the things that we’ve been pushing for or trying to make our goal is integrating our international community with domestic students,” Whitt said. “We want everybody to feel like this is something they can be a part of, which is why I think it really helps to have non-international students as a part of our officer team . . . It fosters more of that environment of having both groups represented.”
Kristy Ng, sophomore management major from Plano and current secretary of ISA, became friends with a group of international students during Wildcat Week her freshman year. She participated in ISA a lot during that year, including their two main events – the Ethnos culture show in the Fall and the International Food and Fashion Festival in the Spring.
“It’s amazing how there’s people from all over the world that can come together like a family . . . they kind of have this all in it together thing, like, we may not be from the same place, we may not even speak the same language, our cultures are entirely different,” Ng said, “but they all have this warmth towards each other that’s hard to beat.”
Ng said being on the officer team while not being an international student gives her a useful insight.
“I’m able to give them a different side of it,” Ng said. “I kind of like to see myself as a bridge, and this year that was the biggest thing I was concentrated on, just being a bridge for all the domestic students who would like to be a part of ISA, because when you think of International Students Association, you just feel ‘oh, maybe that’s not for me.’ . . . but I found that there’s a lot of people who are interested and like expressing culture and finding out more about things all around the world.”
ISA isn’t just about fostering community within the international community at ACU.
“We like to donate our proceedings to IRC or other organizations that give away to the Abilene community . . . In the end, it’s all about giving it away to others who really need it in the community,” Ng said. “It’s not an ACU thing. It’s an Abilene thing.”