IGC open house marks positive outlook for new deanship

By Kevin Xiong

Every year at Mac, students fail to grasp the precise role of the Institute for Global Citizenship (IGC). Under Christy Hanson, a professor of International Studies who was appointed the Dean last semester, the IGC is forcing itself into the conversation through free coffee, new project grants, and the ever-thorny issue of financing for international students studying abroad. Hanson and the IGC staff hosted an open house this week to kick off the year. Attendance was higher than expected with about fifty students at Hanson’s speech and more filtering in and out of the event. “The opening of the year in the IGC has been very exciting,” said Provost Kathleen Murray. “I was really impressed by the number of students, faculty and staff who turned out for the IGC open house on Tuesday.” The IGC is home to the International Programs, the Office of Internships and the Civic Engagement Center, all of which connect students to local, national and international opportunities outside Macalester. The event was just one example of what many have seen as an increase in student use of the department and its resources. “I’ve seen more people coming here, more traffic,” said Danait Teklay ’13, a student employee at the IGC. “I think, before, people didn’t really know what the IGC was or even cared. But now there’s more curiosity.” Hanson took over as Dean of the IGC this summer, and she has been working ever since to prepare the IGC for this academic year. “It’s fun,” Hanson said. “We’re getting a lot of things going in motion.” Coffee, and Other Changes One of the first attempts to make the IGC more student-friendly is the imminent installation of a coffee bar in the first-floor lounge of Markim Hall. If students continue studying after picking up their coffee, drinks are complimentary. Otherwise, they will be required to pay or present red tokens handed out to student organizations for distribution at global citizenship events. Other snacks may also appear in the lounge soon. Another major initiative from Hanson is a push to support international students hoping to study abroad. Currently, campus policy does not allow international students to use their financial aid toward study abroad, unless their major requires a semester abroad. However, Hanson said she wants to “broaden the reach” of the program to allow international students to study abroad and “go if they want.” Other changes include opening conference rooms to all interested parties and regularly streaming films in Davis Court. Students will also be able to connect with the IGC through a series of open lunch presentations where students will discuss their experiences with study abroad. One of the IGC’s biggest annual events is the International Roundtable, which will focus this year on food, agriculture and globalization in the 21st century. Although past roundtables have not extended significantly past the three-day event, Hanson hopes this year will be different. She wants food security to be a theme that lasts for the entire year. Finally, this year there will be two opportunities for students to receive funding from the Live It Fund­—a financial resource for global citizenship projects­—instead of the usual one chance during summer term, as well as promoting international internships. IGC Remains Mysterious Many students, however, still don’t know what the IGC is or how to utilize its services. Hanson plans to eliminate this confusion by encouraging students to use the institute’s multitude of services. “We’re trying to deepen the learning experience at Macalester,” Hanson said. Staff members are emphasizing the importance of making the IGC a place for students to spend time even when not attending specific programming. “We want to make the lounge a place for students to do homework and hang out,” Teklay said. “That’s one of our big goals. To make the IGC more student-friendly.” “We want the building to feel more like a part of the campus,” Hanson said. refresh –>