Established earlier this semester, the Bradley University Intercultural Exchange club (IEC) is a brand new organization on campus offering students the opportunity to explore different cultures.
President and co-founder of the club Michael Timm, a senior religious studies and French double major, said he found inspiration to start the club after spending a year studying abroad in France. By experiencing the cultural differences, Timm said he wanted to bring a sense of cultural relativity to Bradley’s campus.
“My involvement with the club stems from my interests in other cultures, and differential cultural groups don’t necessarily mix [well] on campus, especially international students and American students,” Timm said. “I wanted to bring those two groups together.”
Micah Yoon, co-founder of IEC, is currently the group’s social chair and played a key role in the foundation of the club.
“[Michael] asked me after my shift [at Markin Family Recreation Center] and told me about this idea for this new club, and we started off from there,” Yoon, a sophomore middle school education major, said. “We also have two other members on our [executive] board, our vice president is [junior] Eduardo Tapia and [junior] Abraham Barrantes is our treasury officer.”
By talking with peers and professors about the idea, Timm said his notion of a separation between international students and American students was confirmed. Because of that, Timm said IEC’s goal is to connect students of all cultures, whether they’re international or not.
“And of course, we’re not just focusing on international students and American students,” Timm said. “Obviously, there is a lot of cultural diversity just among Americans [at Bradley], and that’s also an important factor for us.”
Yoon said as a new organization on campus, there are endless possibilities for what kind of events they want to plan in the future, but they have already started brainstorming ideas.
“We’ve been talking about having special events with other cultural clubs on campus,” Yoon said. “They would be hosting it and introducing their culture to other students on campus.”
According to Timm, IEC has started working toward making these ideas come to fruition.
“One idea is a potluck,” Timm said. “We’re actually hoping to work with a group from the Peoria community called Peoria Area Friends of International Students and they do potlucks annually.”
Timm said the organization is also looking into other ideas such as mixers to provide students of all cultures on opportunity to interact.
As of right now, the organization’s main form of communicating events is through its Facebook page, and they also post on the B Involved app. Additionally, IEC has weekly meetings on Saturdays at thirty-thirty Coffee Co.
Students interested in IEC can contact Michael Timm at firstname.lastname@example.org.