CUNY International Students’ “Meet and Greet” Connects Students From Across the Campuses

February 15, 2013

On February 15th, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services in the Central Office of Student Affairs (COSA) launched a “Meet and Greet” event for CUNY international students including fall 2012 and spring 2013 enrollees. The structured outreach and welcome event took place in the Richard Harris Terrace at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and was co-sponsored with BMCC’s Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

The program provided a unique, focused opportunity to engage and energize students at the start of their campus experience and help them take advantage of the support services and resources available at CUNY. Session panelists discussed academic expectations and more—all against the backdrop of staying mindful of immigration protocols to maintain their international student immigration status. One session, “Overcoming Challenges: International Students Speak,” offered insights from current students who pointed to the hurdles they had overcome to pursue their studies. Specific suggestions for new students included: to get involved in student organizations (that can serve as support systems and a means for advocacy); volunteer for different non-profit organizations; and maintain a high GPA.

“It’s very important information,” commented Baruch freshman Sebastian Kelder, who hails from the Netherlands. “It’s good to know where to go to for help, and to meet other students like myself. I’m very interested in the cross-University networking.” Kingsborough student, Cheyenne Auguste and other participants agreed, recalling the isolation some experience in a city the size of New York. “I’m fortunate that I do have family from St. Lucia here; but being here today with other students like me really helps too,” said Cheyenne.

In the exit survey, students confirmed that the event was rich in content and very informative, recommending that it continue as an annual CUNY-wide event. “The offices for international student services across CUNY are tasked with seeing that these students remain in status and that critical information is made available to them,” remarked Ruth Kamona, CUNY Director for International Student and Scholar Services. “Our mission and outreach to them is critical to their success.”