By: Willy Nichter, Staff Writer Photo Courtesy of: Pangea House
Drew University offers a unique take on the communal living experience with its various theme houses. From WoCo to Umoja, each one is designed to celebrate and foster appreciation of a variety of different cultures and viewpoints. And nowhere is that more apparent than in Pangea, the new intercultural theme house.
Pangea, which is set to officially begin in the Fall 2018 semester, is a one-year residential program with the goal of increasing intercultural communication and understanding, as well as creating a support network for both domestic and international students following their graduation.
“Since we have a growing number of international students,” says Max Zhang, Tilghman Chinese Language and Culture Advisor, “We want to make sure that we’re helping international students and domestic students to establish meaningful friendships and learn with and from each other.”
Eliza Whitman, Tilghman Student Services Coordinator, agreed, saying “We just have so many different cultures here at Drew, and we think this is a really great idea for these cultures to all come together and shine and create something new.”
In terms of activities, Pangea plans to be an open experience, allowing students a great deal of input in how the house is conducted. “What we do is we propose ideas to students and the students work with us to finalize the program,” says Zhang.
Among the initially proposed ideas are American Prom Night, where domestic students plan a prom for the international residents to give them a taste of an American hallmark, and News with a Thousand Faces, where students will research international news coverage of a certain event and then compare how the rhetoric differs between the various countries.
“The intention behind the programs that we’re going to be doing is to help students share their culture with each other and also to increase their intercultural communication skills,” says Whitman.
As a theme house, Pangea is designed to create an extensive support network and also to educate others about varying cultures. It is an admirable goal, and one which Zhang and Whitman are quite passionate about.
“I think is very beneficial to not only domestic students but also international students,” says Zhang. “This exposure and also this connection and also this learning, it can all take place in Pangaea because our goal is to structure our activities in such a way that we can cultivate friendship among students.”
Pangea is currently recruiting residents for the 2018 – 2019 year. The application period ends at 12 p.m. on April 6.