Rutgers Dean welcomes international students into her home for annual dinner
International students were welcomed into the home of the dean of the Douglass Residential College last Thursday to mingle, eat and learn about opportunities on campus.
Dean Jacquelyn Litt has hosted the Dean’s Dinner for International Students annually in her house on the Douglass campus for about four years now.
Rebecca Reynolds, assistant dean of Advising and Bunting Programs for the Douglass Residential College, organized the event.
She said that they write to all of the international students each year and invite them to the dean’s house for a night of fun.
“It’s a way to bring international students together because sometimes they don’t always meet each other on campus, you know, it’s harder for them to meet each other,” she said.
The event is meant to create a sense of community between the international students at the University, and also to let them know about opportunities available to them and things happening on campus, Reynolds said.
“(We) just have to let them know that we’re here as a support system,” she said. “I want to make sure that all of our students and all populations feel comfortable.”
Since this year is the Douglass Residential College’s centennial anniversary, there is a slew of events like this being hosted.
Dean Litt said that she invites the international students to her house to get to know each other and find fellow people who have experienced the international transition.
“We want to make international students know that they are welcome and valued and know that they are part of the community,” Litt said.
Before the annual Dean’s Dinner came to fruition, there was no dinner event like this specifically for international students, she said.
Considering the small number of international students on campus — about 7 percent of the student body — Litt said that this is a good way for them to interact.
“They are a vital part of Douglass and I want them to feel that they can come to us for anything they need,” she said.
Litt said that they used to host an international food night at her campus residence, where international students would cook in her kitchen. She hopes to do that again in the future.
“My kitchen has been taken over many times, and it was really a lot of fun,” she said.
Riddhi Jain, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior, is originally from India and came to Rutgers as a first-year student in 2014.
“I saw this email one night and I thought it would be a really good chance to come and interact with people. I’m a senior now, so I’ve been around Douglass women all the time, so I thought that it would be a really great opportunity to see and also meet other students who are coming out here,” Jain said.
Jain is an international team leader and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences ambassador. She said that she thought going to this event would be a good way to talk to fellow international students about the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences ambassadors international team, what they do and the events they organize, in addition to simply making friends.
Kimberley Glover, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, is president of the Women’s International and Multicultural Association, which took part in hosting the dinner.
Glover attended the event on behalf of her organization.
She said that she thinks international students should come out to events like this to get more connected and that Rutgers has a lot of opportunities to offer that the students can learn about.
Glover got involved with events like this when she attended a game night as a sophomore, and subsequently started going to meetings and then got involved on her organization’s e-board, she said.
The Women’s International and Multicultural Association hosts events and talks about different cultures around the world and their relation to women’s rights and human rights violations against women, Glover said.
The club is open to both domestic and international students, and so far there are about 25 members, she said.
“(The event is about) talking to other people from different places around the world and also from here, the United States,” she said. “Getting more acclimated with the culture.”
Stephen Weiss is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in philosophy. He is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum.