9/11 sympathy felt worldwide

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the World Friendship Picnic brought University students together from across campus and around the world to celebrate cultural diversity, and encourage international understanding.

“What happened on Sept. 11 is not only felt by Americans,” said Adaeze Ononye, president of the World Student Association, sponsors of the picnic. “After Sept. 11, a lot of international students were afraid to go out to their classes, or outside because of fear.”

According to Ononye, those fears were due to a lack of familiarity with Americans.

“World students don’t always feel like part of the campus,” she said. “Each group stays together. They may not realize it, but that separates them.”

Helping to overcome that barrier, a considerable number of American students were in attendance at the picnic, which included music, games and food provided by the Graduate Student Senate.

An interest in traveling abroad brought students like freshman Daniel Mulhall to Saturday’s event.

“Curiosity in other cultures brought me here,” he said, echoing the statements made by many attendees.

But according to Ononye, Saturday’s picnic was just one way to introduce the campus community to other cultures.

“This event is a beginning. It gets people talking,” Ononye said. “Future events, like the International Fair on Nov. 6, will build on that, letting students explore the different countries they got to know here.”

Ononye hopes to build on this success and change attitudes extending beyond this academic year, she said.