International Student Activities during Lockdown

—International Tax session April 6, 2020 2:30 PM EST. Use the link below to sign up by noon April 3rd to be included in a chat during which Albert Aguirre and Roxanne Lewis will be available to talk you through the process of filing your taxes for 2019.

Other University Events

–March 23, 2020  from Travis Potter of Stetson’s Wellness and Recreation office Contact him to express interest in joining. “It goes without saying that we are not scheduling any intramural games for the remainder of the semester, but what if we can explore an alternative for your fun and entertainment. The first step is to gauge your initial interest and hopefully there are some commonalities among everyone. I have brainstormed the following activities:

Madden Tournament (PS4; Xbox)Call of Duty Warzone (top finishes; Xbox, PS4, Computer)
8 Ball Pool Competitions (App on Google Play)
FIFA 2020 Tournament (PS4; Xbox)
Rocket League CompetitionNBA 2K (PS4 & Xbox)
Interested? Let me know, I’m starting new tournaments each Monday between now and the end of April. “

–Looking to get involved in Stetson leadership opportunities? Connect with ULEAD

Sprouting Growth

Through the Alliance for International Reforestation Inc. and Stetson, students are planting seeds for learning in Central America.

Since the year 2000, the Alliance for International Reforestation Inc. (AIR) has enjoyed a strong partnership with David and Leighan Rinker, longtime ardent Stetson benefactors, in offering transformational service experiences for Stetson students in Central America.

The partnership actually began when in 1999 David Rinker offered to support student trips with Anne Hallum, Ph.D., a Stetson political science professor and founder of AIR, through the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation. David Rinker had learned of Hallum’s early experiences working in Guatemala — training farmers in sustainable agriculture and other services — and he wanted students to benefit as well.

Through the years, both literally and figuratively, it’s been quite a journey.

Today, selected students — based on grades, a reflective essay and an interview — participate in three primary programs, along with academic assignments, over a period of four to six weeks. The word participate is used loosely.

Students build stoves with Mayan families and the AIR staff; they are actively engage at rural schools; they plant fast-growing trees on deforested slopes; and they maintain a journal of reflections on friendships made and lessons learned.

Camaraderie with locals is part of the AIR experience for students.

Over the years, for example, more than 100 stoves have been constructed — involving cement mixing and brick laying — to help prevent lung disease and conserve precious trees. Meanwhile, more than 45,000 fast-growing trees have been planted —up to 4,000 trees each month by hand on mountains — to improve crops and prevent mudslides.

The trips, clearly, aren’t vacations, except for the Saturday “tourist days.”

Last summer, in addition to building and planting, a student with a special interest in marketing shadowed Hallum to learn the nuances of fundraising and donor relations.

The travel expenses for each of those students, as well as for Hallum, are covered by the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. grant (with some funds from Latin American Studies when more students traveled). Those annual grants total approximately $9,000 each June, which cover hotels, food, ground transportation, small stipends and continual supervision by the AIR staff members.

For the students, the payoffs have been significant.

A first-year student was taught the “sheer joy” of an exhausting day of service (especially outdoors). An impressionable 19-year-old who spent six weeks with AIR in Guatemala now is an accomplished alumnus. More generally, AIR has impacted how student view the world.

Thanks to charitable funding and Anne Hallum, Ph.D., a former political science professor at Stetson, students continue to participate in uncommon immersion abroad.

Until June 2012, Hallum taught full-time at Stetson and managed AIR’s early growth in Nicaragua and Guatemala. She was able to combine the service work in rural Guatemala and Nicaragua with her own academic research, and to find ways for students to earn academic credits in independent studies such as immersion Spanish, environmental activism, Latin American studies: Mayan Culture, and religion and the environment.

Hallum left Stetson in 2012, moving to Atlanta to work full-time (non-salaried) as president of AIR-Guatemala. Yet, even today, by virtue of her personal ties to the university and the Rinker support, she continues to exclusively host Stetson students for lengthy immersion experiences.
Not coincidentally, in 2017 AIR Guatemala received its second recognition from the United Nations, as a winner of the 2017 Equator Prize, presented by the United Nations Development Programme.

As a result, a reforestation organization founded on the third floor of Elizabeth Hall at Stetson more than 25 years ago now is globally acclaimed. Even greater, it continues to provide uncommon experiences of growth for Stetson students.

-Michael Candelaria

Originally posted at Stetson Today on February 25, 2019

 International Student Receives Global Citizenship Scholarship, Stetson Access Grant

Congratulations to Henry Semaganda, international student from Kampala, Uganda, who received one of Stetson’s prestigious Global Citizenship Scholarships. Semaganda has long demonstrated interest in Stetson University, applying twice before receiving the scholarship.

“As a recipient of the prestigious Global Citizen Full Tuition Scholarship, I have an immense opportunity to live my dream at Stetson University, Florida. A dream that has come to pass despite the fact that the competition was indeed stiff, with only one slot available for a student from sub-Saharan Africa.“

Henry Semaganda, ‘20 (biology), proudly displays his Global Citizenship Scholarship certificate of award. Semaganda is the second recipient of the Global Citizenship Scholarship, a new scholarship program at Stetson University aimed at attracting outstanding international students.

The full tuition scholarship is awarded to incoming international students with top academic potential who exhibit Stetson’s value of global citizenship. Three students are chosen annually, each from different regions of the world. The scholarship enables recipients opportunity to deepen their practice of global citizenship as Semeganda describes in his application essay.

“For a substantial part of my life, I have always held a firm belief in the promise of humanity. This belief has persisted despite the wrongs and misfortunes that have befallen our societies. I have never given up hope in believing that there is potential to do good in all of us and that deep within us lies the solution to the problems that torment the world today ranging from war, terrorism, disease among others. I believe everyone has a place on the team in this journey to make the world a better place for posterity”.

Semaganda has also received the Stetson Access Grant Scholarship (now discontinued) to cover the remaining costs of attending university. He believes that the small class sizes and student-to-teacher ratio at Stetson  will afford him the “rare opportunity of an up-close learning experience and mentorship between the professors and me…”

Today, I rejoice in an improbable success. That as a student who began his academic journey at Masajja Bridge nursery and primary school, a school that is on the verge of demolition currently, I will be obtaining my undergraduate education at Stetson University, one of the top institutions in U.S. Both my parents dropped out of school during the 1979 Iddi-Amin civil war but held a firm belief that education would be the ultimate gift they would ever give me. It is their unwavering hope that even pushed me to limits they had never envisioned.

The biology major has participated in the EducationUSA program at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and has volunteered to work with them to spread the benefits of an American education.

I want to share in the diversity, to bask in the depth, richness and flexibility of an American education. My story is one of hard work, tenacity and unflagging faith that I can be among the best. If one wants to achieve greatness, the door to opportunity is always open. My story has just begun. I urge students from Uganda, and from around the world to never give up on their dreams because they seem too big. Let us strive to push ourselves to limits we have never imagined before.

Semaganda’s future plans include a career as a medical doctor to help improve Uganda’s health system.

“I envision that after my time at Stetson, I will be an ambassador of hope, well equipped with knowledge, exposure and skills to contribute to sensitization and improvement of basic health care in Uganda but more especially in eradicating preventable diseases like HIV/AIDS, cholera and ebola that plague millions of Africans.

”Today, as a global citizen, I long to see African societies that are not held hostage to negative traditional beliefs and senseless stereotypes. This will boost our education, health, infrastructure, relationships, politics and leadership.”

4th Annual Open House Welcomes Faculty and Staff

WORLD welcomed faculty and staff to its 4th annual Open House on October 18, 2018.

Stetson’s first annual Global Citizenship Symposium starts Friday, April 6

WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center is excited to present Stetson’s first annual Global Citizenship Symposium, beginning Friday, April 6, through April 17.  The Symposium was developed with the goals of providing education, support and opportunities for activism around topics of global significance.

This year’s theme is Immigration.

As a global and local phenomenon, immigration is not only the topic of highly charged political debates, but also the site of crucial struggles for human and civil rights. This year’s Symposium offers many opportunities for conversations, debates and direct actions that highlight the importance of these struggles, especially in relation to education, economy and business, identity and the immigrant experience.

A schedule of events is available online. Cultural credit and food will be offered at most of the events.  We invite the community to join us for interdisciplinary panels, workshops, exhibits, film screenings, and hands-on activities, and learn how immigration impacts Stetson and nearby communities.

For questions about the symposium, please email

Paula Hentz
Director of International Learning
World: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning

Spring 2018 Global Citizenship Fair

The Stetson Green glows with umbrellas during the spring Global Citizenship Fair.

Study abroad providers pause from  recruiting students for Asia programs to endorse the Global Citizenship Fair.

Rachel Core, assistant professor of sociology, recruits students to her study abroad summer course in China.

Savannah-Jane Griffin, director of community engagement and inclusive excellence, chats with presenter from an epilepsy foundation.

Stetson celebrates another International Education Week

At Stetson University, International Education Week (November 13-17) celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Here’s a small slice of the many activities organized and led by students.

Travel Books
Adriana Bolanos ’18
WORLD Ambassador

Stetson’s duPont Ball Library featured travel/international books during International Education Week. In addition to highlighting one’s pathway in  life, books help society to understand cultures and their evolution over time. In fact, books teach about norms of the society and can make an individual a better person by learning about another culture or country. Books are a perfect way to spark curiosity for wanting to travel and explore.

Ask Me About Study Abroad Campaign
Tove Strand ’17
WORLD Ambassador

During International Education Week, students who had studied abroad were encouraged to wear a blue shirt and a sticker with the text “Ask Me About Studying Abroad”. The purpose of this campaign was to increase awareness about the study abroad programs Stetson University offers. Other students who were interested in studying abroad had the opportunity to ask questions at any time on campus during the week if they saw a person wearing the sticker.

International Tea Party
Nezha El abbassy ’17
WORLD Ambassador

On the first day of International Education Week, students, staff, and facultystudents participated in an International Tea Party in front of the CUB. They were offered teas from different places in the world and a brief presentation on how each tea is consumed in the particular country.

WORLD Soccer Match
Josh Tobutt ’19
WORLD Ambassador

On Monday evening during International Education Week, American and foreign students were invited to learn how to play soccer through a friendly game. The event integrated different cultures through sports.

Study Abroad Skype Session
Rebecca Shaffer ’18

Students attended a Skype session with Stetson senior Nicholas Fuller at Oxford University in England to learn about and discuss his experiences studying abroad. He identified the importance of studying abroad and answered questions regarding a range of issues from housing and extra-curricular activities to the process of getting a visaNicholas is a biology major and a contributor to the Stetson Senior blog.

Origami Frenzy
Son Vu ’20
WORLD Ambassador

During the origami event, students learned a new skill and de-stressed after mid-term exam week. The frenzy was co-facilitated by Origami “expert” Gonzalo Gonzalez who also learned some new designs. Many students learned how to make a crane, flower, and even a T-Rex out of a square piece of paper. 

International Karaoke Night
Sudeep Maiti ’20
WORLD Ambassador
The karaoke atmosphere was groovy. The UVA Clubhouse quickly filled with participants eating Moe’s as they stared at the screen while singing to classics like Sweet Caroline. Some were just hanging out with their friends. During the event, participants got to know one other and everyone had a really good time.

Capoeira Worshop
Greici Buzzi
Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant of Arabic

Capoeira is a martial art developed in Brazil by African slaves more than 400 years ago. It is an intoxicating and fast-paced blend of self-defense, music and fluid movement. Mestre George Palmares, Capoiera trainer with over 30 years of experience, came from Orlando with some of his students to offer a two hour workshop on this fascinating art. Participants watched the experienced students perform Capoeira. Mestre George went over a few concepts about the martial art itself and the instruments.  During the second part of the workshop, Stetson students received a free Capoeira lesson, engaging with the Capoeira apprentices and having a real experience of how this beautiful art is practiced. They had an amazing workshop experience.

Internships Abroad
Anand P. Dwivedi ’19
WORLD Council

The WORLD Council event featured Amy Barber, Stetson University’s assistant director of internships, who helped both domestic and foreign students with tips and resources for finding internships in other countries. Students learned about various providers that work closely with WORLD to provide study abroad experiences, and the various resources on campus to assist with internship search and the application process.

Interactive World Map
Elena Finver ’17
WORLD Ambassador

Foreign students marked where they were from on a large blank map, then both domestic and foreign students marked where they wished to travel next on the same map. Participants learned about how diverse the Stetson community is in terms of place of origin as well as options for studying abroad. This map is displayed at the WORLD: Rinker Center for International Learning.

Language Speed-Dating

Language is an integral part of international education. Among other factors, learning a language helps domestic students understand the struggles of foreign students learning a new language. It also provides an opportunity for foreign students to share a piece of their culture. As part of International Education week, native English speakers at Stetson University gathered with foreign students from various countries to learn as many languages as possible in a single hour. Structured as a speed-dating exercise, each pair of students had five minutes to learn something about each other before switching partners. Participants learned the basics of German, Swedish, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Ping Pong Charades
Javier Gamboa ’18
WORLD Ambassador

Ping Pong Charades is a form of an International Trivia Game that tested the skills of students from an array of international topics including geography, food, and music. This event was hosted in Sage Hall SCALE UP  Classroom to ensure their active participation of a large number of students. The game was organized via a PowerPoint as it involved two teams giving one member of each team clues based on pictures showed on the projector. The goal  of the Charades was to spark an interest in current world affairs and events in a fun, interactive way.

Uncouth Hour
Gabriella Cassidy ’19
WORLD Ambassador

At these special Uncouth Hours, international students shared music and literature from wherever they are from. Students enjoyed food and the company of their friends. Over 40 students, both international and domestic, attended the night and performed.

International Education Week at Stetson University is a program of WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning. In 2017, WORLD Ambassadors were primarily responsible for organizing and facilitating events.

Stetson celebrates United Nations International Day of Peace

For almost a year, Roxanne Lewis of WORLD: The Rinker Center for International Learning, has been discussing Peace Day events at Stetson University. Together with Lindsey Graves of the Interfaith Initiatives and Kevin Winchell of the Center for Community Engagement, they executed a full day of activities aimed at examining ideals and threats to peace. Here’s a recap of our inaugural Peace Day event.

Ringing the Hollis Center Bell for Peace — 10 a.m.

United Nations International Day of Peace at Stetson University kicked off with a ringing of the Peace Bell in the same spirit that the U.N. heralds peace each year. The Hollis Center bell rang 10 times, once for each continent and once for each of Stetson University’s campuses and centers.

Qi Gong with Sensei Morris Sullivan — 10:30-11 a.m. | Hulley Tower
Sensei Morris Sullivan led a group of participants through the traditional practice of Qigong (Chi Kung), a form of martial art or medical or spiritual engagement. Participants learned basic traditional movements that integrated physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions. Qigong expands and moves life-force/energy, Qi (pronounced chee), throughout the body. Surprisingly simple to do, the Qigong exercise generated much interest in Sensei Sullivan’s Thai Chi sessions offered in the Hollis Center each week.

Ball Pit/Labyrinth Walk — 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | Palm Court/Hulley Tower

A ball pit was assembled to encourage conversation and self-exploration. Participants took turns settling into the pit and selected a ball with printed questions to be used as conversation starters. Questions ranged in scope from “What is your favorite holiday and why?” to “What is the one worldwide issue that has to be fixed first?” One enthusiastic participant declared the ball pit experience was “a highlight of her time at Stetson so far!” One administrator posted on Facebbok , “Today, I spent 10 minutes in the ball pit with these awesome humans…I did not want to get out of the pool. It felt like such a loving and safe refuge in our crazy world.”

Peace Wall — Throughout the day | Multiple venues

An 8×4-foot Peace Wall was created by the Stetson community to represent the community’s desire to live and work in a place of peace. Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to leave a message of peace on the plywood wall. The Peace Wall will be on display at WORLD, the Cross-Cultural Center, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life on a rotating basis between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Drop by to view it and add your peace message.

Lunch + Conversations: Cultivating Personal Peace, Conflict Resolution, and Women in Peace and Conflict — 12-1 p.m. | Conrad Hall

Participants enjoyed a catered lunch and facilitated conversations on one of three topics. Sensei Morris Sullivan led Cultivating Personal Peace, Kevin Winchell facilitated Conflict Resolution, and Amber Finnicum-Simmon led Women in Peace and Conflict. Almost 50 students and staff engaged in passionate, provoking, and respectful discussion on emotionally-charged topics. Students grappled with concepts that challenged values and worldviews. This event attracted the largest crowd of the day’s events.

Four Directions Ceremony with Stetson’s Organization for Native American Revitalization (SONAR) — 1:15-1:45 p.m. | Sorority Row Gazebo
Stetson’s SONAR conducted a traditional Four Directions Ceremony. As decedents of Native American tribes, SONAR students invited participants to form a circle which is symbolic of the world. They asked for blessing and peace from the four cardinal directions — East, South, West and North — and from Father Sky and Mother Earth. The ceremony is a ritual clearing bad spirits and evil and a call for peace and security. One participant said she felt this program was “deeply spiritual, authentically executed and extremely well presented”.

Meditation Flash Mob with Stetson’s Mindful Meditation Club — 5:30-6 p.m. | Stetson Green
At 5:30 p.m., Stetson’s Meditation Club took over Green with a Meditation Flash Mob. Club members posed cross-legged or in prone positions on the ground and began a mass meditation session. Passersby were encouraged to join. The event emphasized the importance of personal peace and wellbeing and highlighted a growing group of students engaged in consistent practice of serenity.

A Call to Action: Waging Peace — 6-7:30 p.m. | Rinker Welcome Center

The culminating event of Peace Day 2017 featured a five-person panel on pressing issues of Peace – personal, global and in daily work. Panelists agreed that peace is requires hard work from engaged, motivated people. Following the presentations, participants recorded how Stetson community members foster and grow peace. Ideas collected will be integrated into programming by WORLD, Interfaith Initiatives, and the Center for Community Engagement. Panelists included Jora Young, retired staff at The Nature Conservancy; and from Stetson University: John Richardson, public safety officer and U.S. Military Veteran;  Eman Fathallah, Fulbright Scholar of Arabic and instructor of Arabic; Maxwell Droznin, AmeriCorps VISTA and community engagement coordinator; Kevin Winchell, associate director of community engagement; and moderator Rajni Shankar-Brown, associate professor of education and Jessie Ball duPont Chair of Social Justice.

Peace Day 2017 occurs at a great time because on September 26, 2017, we will celebrate and examine our core values during Values Day. We are excited about welcoming our keynote speaker, acclaimed author and media entrepreneur Irshad Manji to discuss “The Diversity Dilemma“.

A number of activities counted as Cultural Credit events.

Annually, International Peace Day is observed across the globe on September 21. The General Assembly declared that date as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among nations and peoples. For more on Peace Day at Stetson, contact Roxanne Lewis, international student and scholar services coordinator at WORLD: The Rinker Center for International Learning.