New International Hall showcases COD’s diversity


Hannah Davis

Flags hanging in the lower corridor of the SRC building

Vandy Manyeh, News Editor

From Turkey, Rabia Nefise Sertlek believes College of DuPage is a home away from home.

In the hallway of the Student Resources Center, her flag is among many others representing the countries of students represented at COD.

Struck in awe when she saw a red flag featuring a white star and crescent, she said: “It touches my heart.”

Not only is the flag a visual that the college values diversity, but the networking among students and the support from the entire COD community is making her time at the college worth every stay.

“I feel the excitement in this college,” she says.  

Like Sertlek, Origanus Katlego Ramfate is an international student on the Community College Initiative Program from South Africa.

“When I saw the flags, I stopped and looked for my flag,” said Ramfate. “Words just can’t express that feeling.”

These are two of the many positive responses you will get if you ask individual international students about how they felt when the passed by the proposed international hall.

COD President Ann Rondeau in her recent “President’s Corner” on The Green Sheet hinted at a plan to make the lower hallway of the SRC building a space to showcase the cultural diversity of COD.  

“It is my hope that, once completed, this unique space will be used for events and other activities to showcase the culture of the College,” said Rondeau.

This milestone achievement comes during the college’s celebration of diversity and inclusion leading up to the visit and lecture on the challenges of diversity by Eddie Moore.

Moore is one of America’s top motivational speakers. He currently serves as the director of The Privilege Institute (TPI) and The National White Privilege Conference (WPC).  

With 134 international students on F-1  visa status and 16 on a J-1 visa status, COD has been the destination for students from various backgrounds and cultures. Also, the college hosts 16 additional students on the U.S State Department’s CCI Program.

The F-1 visa is given to nonimmigrant students to study in America. The J-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors. The CCI Program is a U.S. State Department-funded program that helps students from other countries build their technical skills and leadership capabilities at community colleges across America.

Already in its planning stage, international students recently established the college’s inaugural International Student Association. The organization will serve as a platform to integrate students from different walks of life.

“I know some students might not have the opportunity to travel and learn about other cultures. This is a great way to learn and hear what we have to say,” said Mmabatho Moshoeshoe from South Africa.