Flag Dedication Ceremony celebrates diversity at UAF

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 26, 2013

Anthropology student Ilona Kemp gives a short speech explaining the symbolism of the flag from the Netherlands, while International Programs and Initiatives Director Donna Anger holds the flag for the audience to see at the Flag Dedication Ceremony in the Wood Center on Nov. 22. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Anthropology student Ilona Kemp gives a short speech explaining the symbolism of the flag from the Netherlands, while International Programs and Initiatives Director Donna Anger holds the flag for the audience to see at the Flag Dedication Ceremony in the Wood Center on Nov. 22. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

The flags that hang in the Wood Center aren’t just there for decoration—they hang for every international or exchange student that has attended UAF. Last Friday, UAF added three more at the Flag Dedication Ceremony.

The Office of International Programs and Initiatives hosts the Flag Dedication Ceremony once a semester to celebrate UAF’s diverse student population. On Friday, Nov. 22, OIPI added flags from the Netherlands, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to the roughly 80 flags hanging in the Wood Center.

There are currently 47 different nationalities represented in UAF’s student body. The largest group of international students at UAF is from India, followed by Canada, according to Chancellor Brian Rogers.

“We’ve had every continent represented at one time or another,” said Associate Director of Immigration Compliance Carol Holz.

Business Administration freshman Kathryn Pound is the first student at UAF from New Zealand. Pound gave a short speech at the Flag Dedication Ceremony, talking about life in New Zealand and the history and symbolism behind the New Zealand flag that was hung in the Wood Center following the ceremony.

Pound was recruited for the women’s swim team. She said she was surprised to be the first student from New Zealand at UAF. “It’s the farthest away you can get, I guess,” Pound clarified.

The flags that hang in the Wood Center represent the diversity of the student body at UAF. For each international students or exchange student, a flag is hung to represent their home country. Nov. 22, 2013. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

The flags that hang in the Wood Center represent the diversity of the student body at UAF. For each international student or exchange student, a flag is hung to represent their home country. Nov. 22, 2013. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

The Flag Dedication Ceremony was started in 2006, when the initial list of international students was compiled and OIPI, then the Office of International Programs, decided to do something with it. Each semester since then, the office has added flags representing the growing diversity of students at UAF.

“Students passing through the Wood Center see that flag, and have the connection to home,” said International Scholar Program Coordinator Joanna Cruzan.

Roughly 50 to 100 students passed through the ceremony on Friday afternoon to enjoy the free ice cream and celebration of diversity.

Holz expressed her awe at the diversity at UAF. “When you think it’s as far north as you can get and as far south as you can get and everywhere in between, it’s really exciting.”

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