By Ryan Lallo
CCC Journalism Program
CAMDEN – International Day and Spring Fling were combined this year on April 20 at the Camden County College Camden City campus.
It was sunny outside and the courtyard was packed with students and faculty. As visitors walked into the event, they saw flags from different countries hanging from the walls. Students dressed in their culture’s decorative clothing and serving food from their countries were everywhere the eye could see. People from different backgrounds were intermingling, laughing and talking. There was music and games and representatives from local companies like Wells Fargo and PATCO were giving away trinkets.
English as a Second Language faculty member and adviser Tish McGee was running around coordinating the event. McGee said she believes this event is extremely important. “It is an opportunity to share and showcase the diversity at the college and a great opportunity for everyone to learn about each other.” She added International Day had not been held at the Camden City campus in approximately 20 years, so this day held a special significance.
Santiago Valladares, president of the International Club and student at CCC, was there with his camera around his neck taking pictures of the event. He said, “It’s a nice way to end the semester on a fun, relaxing note. Everyone gets to learn a little bit about where each other is from.” He said he plans to have the event again next year and to make it a regular yearly event again.
There was a young woman sitting with a large group of friends and family representing the Dominican Republic with a giant spread of food in front of them. Chedy Torres is a freshman at CCC and an ESL major. About half of her family moved to America in August 2009. She was teary-eyed when she said, “We came to America for better life opportunities. I really miss my mother, my 95-year-old grandfather and my brothers and sisters who are still in the Dominican Republic. I also miss the beaches and the rivers. This event is making me feel nostalgic and I feel more connected to my roots. I love the Dominican Republic and I also love America now. Overall I like living here better now and I plan on staying here for my career. I visit my family every year, so we are very much still in contact.”