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Purvi Patel, President of Parkside International Club(PIC)
is part of one of the largest
organizations on campus. PIC has over 100 members involved.
What is PIC?
Purvi Patel said students should join because, “Number one, free food!” Joking aside, she explained that they wanted to be “a home, sweet home for students who aren’t [from] here.” Patel said that the main goal of Parkside International Club is to give people a home, somewhere where people can be who they are individually and culturally, without judgement.
When Patel was younger, she was the only Indian girl in her school, and that had a big impact on her life. When she moved to Chicago, the sheer diversity came as a shock to her. Because of this, when she transferred to UW-Parkside, she was inspired (with a little help from the former president of PIC) to join the group so she could be in a diverse environment again.
The Ranger News asked Patel how PIC helps students from Wisconsin and all over the world. Patel responded that PIC helps students from the United States learn how to avoid offending people of other cultures, which is useful for anyone of any major. PIC also teaches people to embrace diversity, that “whatever culture you come from, there is no right and wrong”.
Anyone should join
As a Biology major, Patel enjoyed learning about something that was not biology. “I never had an urge to join anything my first semester,” she said. “I would have been a completely different person if I wasn’t dragged into being in PIC.”
PIC is not time consuming and you are not required to attend all the meetings. They have a very laid back attendance policy, and as long as you show up to the occasional meeting and event, you are considered part of the club. Of the 100+ members, only 15 generally come to meetings.
A PIC meeting is generally run so that they update everyone on what is been happening in the past meetings, they go around and talk about anything new they learned. Then they eat and participate in an activity. Very rarely does the club just sit around hanging out; they normally go and do something, such as board games or volleyball.
The meetings are in the fall and spring, with breaks lining up with UW-Parkside’s summer and winter breaks. Because a lot of the members have to travel home during vacation, they do not meet up during breaks. Meetings are every Monday from noon to 1 p.m.
PIC plans for the future
Patel was very excited that she is planning a few new events for the future. She wants to establish something called “Country a Week,” where they feature one country in the world. The club will decorate a window on the bridge, make food from the chosen country, tell fun facts about it, and maybe even dress up!
Another new event in the works is an international health meeting, with the Pre-Health Club and Parkside International Club. They will be partnering to share information about health issues around the world.
Finally, Patel wants to organize something for students who have travelled to different countries in the past, and she is asking for anyone in the student body to share pictures of their travels with her so that they can showcase UW-Parkside’s diversity, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We just want everyone to know there is a place for you,” Patel said. Parkside International Club is a great way to meet new friends and to learn more about the diversity that surrounds you.