European students find a continental commonality
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As students ease into spring semester, a new club on campus is taking off for the first time.
On Feb. 2, the university’s new European Student Association held its inaugural meeting, giving life to Suffolk University’s first official organization encompassing students from across the European continent.
Despite having short notice before the first meeting on Thursday, a group of students from various backgrounds came together to celebrate a European atmosphere. Musical performances from Eurovision, an annual singing contest that takes place in Europe played in the background as the group began to take shape.
Pavel Stojka, a freshman double major in management and psychology from the Czech Republic, is the President. Alona Beloussova is an Entrepreneurship freshman who grew up in Singapore, Indonesia and the U.K. She is originally from Russia and is the Vice President. Brianna Vieira, a freshman is the secretary, is from Portugal and travels frequently to Europe. The treasurer, Nicole Castro Hoyos, a freshman, is from originally from Colombia but has family living in Spain and is a fanatic of European cultivation.
The idea to create the association started to come together in October 2016, when the organization was formed on a whim using social media.
“Pavel posted something on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to start a club with him, so I messaged saying I do and we met up and created the constitution,” said Vice President Beloussova. “This happened really quick. Within a week we made the constitution. Before we submitted we had to find our treasurer and secretary and we found Brianna who’s our secretary and our treasurer is Nicole.”
Immediately upon entering the room was a slide containing a myriad of information about European culture, experiences, and traditions, foreshadowing what meetings would cover for the rest of the semester, including food, music and dances.
The association has been motivated to come together with other heritage groups in order to build onto an already-large community of various heritage associations on campus.
“It is a passion for our culture. We want to give people a taste of what European culture is really like. We want to gather all communities with ours,” said Vieira.
A business etiquette seminar was a lengthy topic of discussion. The objective of this proposed seminar will be to teach students about European etiquette, manners and traditions. America and Europe have different expectations for etiquette, and the seminar would be an excellent way for students who wish to travel to Europe to learn how to prosper in a foreign land.
During a group discussion over the group’s plans, various people shared ideas about what they’d like to see the association do. They discussed learning traditional dances, having movie nights or cooking seminars, as well as going on field trips to historical locations in order to further understand the culture.
Cuisine is an integral part of every European nation.
According to Beloussova, food has a special way of connecting people despite where they come from.
“I love food and I always love showing my friends different dishes; a huge focus is food. In a way, this shows people that you don’t have to be European yourself to be a part of this community,” said Beloussova.
One of the long-term goals that the leaders hope to achieve is to receive enough funding for everyone involved in the European Student Association to fly to Europe and experience it first hand.
The European Student Association will host meetings every other Thursday in Sawyer Room 132.
For more information contact, [email protected] or visit their Facebook page European Students Association (@SuffolkESA).