Campus Outreach Hosts International Dinner

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Lasagna, beef pasta, salad and lots of cookies lay on the tables for international students at Jacksonville University to bite into. The only catch: before they could get dinner, they had to find their partner, whether it was Hillary to Bill Clinton, Jasmine to Aladdin, or Kate Middleton to Prince William.

Campus Outreach hosted International Dinner Night Tuesday night for all students that are part of the International Student Association to enjoy some American home-cooked food and take a break before finals week hits. The food was prepared by families from the surrounding community belonging to the church. The dinner was held in Oak Hall’s Multi-Purpose Room.

“Almost 90 percent of international students will never get the chance to enter an American home,” said Tom Mlsek, a staff member for Campus Outreach. “We really want to change that.”

This dinner was organized by a couple of staff member and Kristie Gover, assistant dean of Students & Director of Retention Services and also a faculty advisor for the International Student Association.

Mlsek deals mainly with international students on campus to give them a place to feel comfortable whether it is just to provide assistance where needed or someone to talk to. The dinner was overall a success as students not only enjoyed their home-cooked meals but also got a chance to interact with new people and teach them something new about their culture and learn from them at the same time.

“It’s nice,” said freshman Adda Laplaceliere. “I heard a lot about campus outreach through Stanley. Like if you need a ride to go somewhere they will provide it for you. It’s pretty cool that they do all this stuff without thinking for a return.”

Mlsek has helped lead the ISA team to victory during the football intramurals and is present every Tuesday at the International Student Association meeting. Always one to help out, Mlsek said he was looking to creating a safe and comfortable environment for the international students at JU.

“Our main purpose is number one to help students out wherever they need,” Mlsek said. “It is to provide a place where they can discuss spiritual topics. It is about creating a safe environment where they can ask questions. That is what Bible Study is for too, just to provide a place where they can ask any questions they have.”

Campus Outreach is also hosting a Christmas Party for international students Dec. 8 as well as a Women’s Christmas Party for cookie and ornament decorating Nov. 30. Both parties are being held at the homes of Jacksonville families associated with the church who are willing to welcome international students into their homes and lives.

Senior Abbey Warnken thought the dinner went according to plan.

“I think it’s awesome to reach out to different people in school especially internationals,” she said. “They may not know about Christianity, and this is our way to spread the gospel. Get God’s word out there.”

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