BOTHELL–It was one part student activism, one part cultural education, and one part celebration at Cascadia Community College as Mobius Hall was filled recently with the sights, sounds, and even the fragrances of Ethiopia.
The impetus for the event was a book drive, spearheaded by Cascadia students earlier this year, which resulted in thousands of books delivered to schools in rural Ethiopia.
“One of the things that has always inspired me and the reason I love being on campus is that the young people have this uncompromised sense of our humanity,” notes Panos Hatziandreas, a Cascadia faculty member who emceed the evening. “To them, Ethiopians are not over there and Bangladeshi people are not over there. They have this deep understanding that we’re all human and that it’s a global village.”
Cascadia’s book drive project was an illustration of this global mindset. As a result of his efforts, student leader Kevin King was awarded a scholarship by the Cascadia Community College Foundation to travel to Ethiopia and meet with administrators, teachers and students at a recipient school in rural Nekemte, Ethiopia.
Cascadia is currently working to establish a study abroad program in Ethiopia.
The evening event was intended to celebrate the book drive efforts and raise awareness among students and community members about the value of global and community engagement.
The evening included a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and several dance performances by members of Seattle’s Ethiopian Community Mutual Association.
A panel of community college students, moderated by Cascadia instructor Danielle Powell, discussed the realities and benefits of student engagement.
“One person, with the help of a lot of other people, can make a difference. It just has to start with a conversation, and that conversation can lead to action, and that action can affect the world,” says Kevin King, who was joined on the panel by four other college students.
Cascadia students received support from students at Bellevue College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology and Seattle Community Colleges, as well as from Cascadia faculty and staff, and community members of Bothell and Woodinville.
Cascadia is a comprehensive community college that utilizes an integrated teaching and learning model to prepare students to succeed in four-year programs and in the workplace.
Cascadia frequently hosts cultural events that are open to the public and free of charge.