“Reaching Across Cultures” builds cultural awareness

Stephanie Koss, Senior Reporter

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, the College of Business Administration (CBA) sponsored a program entitled “Reaching Across Cultures: A Conversation with International Faculty” in the Cameron Hall of Nations in Centennial Hall.

The purpose of this event was to promote greater cultural awareness throughout the UW-La Crosse community by allowing some of the international faculty members in the CBA to share their personal stories in a more relaxed, casual setting outside the classroom. In addition to this, audience members had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions about their experiences and personal stories.

“This event provides some of our faculty with the opportunity to share their experiences of living and working in a culture that is not their own. The purpose of the event is to increase cultural awareness through the diversity of the feelings and experiences of our international faculty,” said Dr. Laurie Miller, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at UW-L.

The panel of international faculty that was present at the event represented a large array of diverse cultures, including faculty from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, and Brazil. The panel consisted of professors from many different departments within the CBA, specifically, the Departments of Accounting, Economics and Business Management.

Through the personal stories shared by panelists, audience members were able to see just a sliver of the lives that these people lead. Although their stories consisted of telling the many differences between their own cultures and the American culture, they also described ways in which their respective cultures are similar to that of the United States, as well.

After attending the event, many audience members felt that they had gained some insight into other cultures that they had not known before, and that alone was enough of a benefit for them. Miller further commented on the benefits that this event holds for all students, staff, and the greater La Crosse community.

“I think it is extremely beneficial for all of us to see things through the eyes of others. This helps to reduce stereotypes that can be very harmful in our interactions with others and works to build a feeling of community and empathy for one another,” said Miller.

Miller also observed that the overall purpose of the event is relatable to all people. The UW-L campus specifically is one that represents a large number of different cultures and backgrounds, and that number is constantly growing. A fast-growing campus community housing many different walks of life demands that more recognition be given to the large amount of diversity that surrounds the UW-L population on a daily basis.

“Our students engage with people from other cultures in their classes and elsewhere on campus and will more than likely do so in their jobs, as well. It is important that they both recognize and respect the diversity around us,” said Miller.

Want to know more regarding this event? Contact Miller at [email protected] or reach by phone at 608.785.6865.

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