By Da’Sha Tuck, Staff writer
Hoping to bridge the gap between international students and Americans students, Murray State’s International Student Organization (ISO) is hosting a soccer game: Global Friendship Soccer Challenge: America v. The World. On Oct., 15 at 4 p.m., there will be two teams facing off in a 90-minute soccer match on the soccer fields outside Lee Clark Residential College. One team will be made up of a mix of different fraternities (America) and the other will be a mix of international students (the world).
Both teams will be male but sororities are encouraged to come and support.
President of Interfraternity Council (IFC) Michael Mann, senior from Springfield, Kentucky, said the planning was done, mainly, by ISO.
He said the goal of the event is to further integrate Murray State Greek Life and international students.
“There is an obvious thrift between Greek Life and International Students,” Mann said. “This game has the potential of eliminating that and making a connection over something that the entire world loves: soccer.
Mann said with this game he hopes other connections can be made.
Sofia Arichavala, president of ISO and senior from Ecuador, said the international students are excited about the game.
She said, for the most part, international students and Americans do not interact and are not involved socially. With this event, she hopes that will change.
Arichavala said the idea to have this event came from ISO, the Saudi Student Organization and Marcus Bell, who is a student advisor for Murray State and an ESL instructor (English as a second language).
She said they have had soccer tournaments within ISO before but those were limited to international students. This time, ISO wanted to expand to include Americans focusing on Greek Life.
“We (ISO) want to be a bridge,” Arichavala said. “A bridge so both Greeks and International students can get connected.”
Anna Vasquez, ISO Advisor, senior from Belize, said there are many events throughout the year which focus on cultural exchange between Americans and International students but this soccer game is narrowly tailored.
“We decided to focus on the Greek community,” Vasquez said. “Greek life is a major part of any university just as soccer is a major sport around the world, which makes this match a perfect way to help in the unification of the Greeks and the International students.”
Vasquez also said she hopes this event will help raise awareness of the international students on campus.
“We have like 775 international students from 59 different countries,” Arichavala said. “You don’t really realize that just walking on campus.”
Arichavala said this is event will be about sharing cultures and the inclusion of all Murray State students no matter where they are from.
She said soccer is a large part of life for international student and being able to share that with Americans will be beneficial.
“Sports is a universal language and having a soccer game will create a stepping stone for future projects or events between Americans (Greeks) and international students,” Vasquez said.
It is obvious there are international students on campus, Arichavala said, Murray State prides itself on being diverse but the cohesion of students is lacking.
ISO hopes this event will be an annual event.
Mann said he believes this will be a good opportunity for the Murray State Community to come together as one. He said he looks forward to seeing the interactions an any unexpected outcomes like relationships formed.
“I do believe that this event is a great opportunity for both Americans and international Students to share their cultures and create a bond between them,” Vasquez said.