Posted December 3, 2010 by Beth Goad 

ACUI Region 1 Hosts the Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and English

As part of the ACUI Region 1 Conference Planning Team for 2010, I had the privilege of working with 38 international delegates who came from "across the pond." In conjunction with the regional conference, the international delegates arrive two days before the conference begins and tour college campuses in the area. This experience has been offered in Region 1 for the past five years in its current format. The opportunity allows the international delegates to see more of the U.S. higher education system, rather than just attending a regional conference which typically occurs on only one campus. In turn, I was fascinated to learn about the education system in England, Wales, and Ireland, as the structure is very different the U.S.

Our first campus visit was to Tufts University to tour the Mayer Campus Center. The group heard from a student who is the personnel manager of the Rez TuftsTourCafé, a student-run coffee shop that is part of Tufts Student Resources. We then ventured to Rhode Island by bus to Johnson & Wales’ culinary campus and Brown University. Each of these tours offered spaces unique to the campuses, including the Harborside Recreation & Athletic Center at Johnson & Wales and the newly renovated Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center at Brown.

The following day, the group got back on the bus to visit Providence College and the University of Rhode Island. Providence College’s newly renovated Slavin Center offers several programming spaces, including an on-campus pub that many of the delegates found interesting as it was the first in the tour. The final stop of the preconference tour was to the Memorial Student Union at the University of Rhode Island; highlights included the large union building and its many student services. Several of the delegates from the Dublin Institute of Technology also sought out tours of recreation facilities because they are in the process of expanding their campus.

The bookstore at each institution we visited was a highlight for many delegates. I was asked a number of times why campus bookstores are called "bookstores" when they seem to contain more clothing and other items than books. I recall from my own experience visiting universities abroad, the bookstores only offered one or possibly two T-shirts.

This element enriches our regional conference and challenges us to consider our roles and the programs we offer. During a discussion on leadership during the conference, it was noted that typically an Irish or British university has one leadership program on its campus, while most American colleges offer various leadership programs. My experience with the international program was rewarding, and I am so grateful to have met several students and staff from "across the pond." The international component of ACUI is so important, and I am glad for such opportunities to grow professionally.Region1InternationalGroup 

Beth Goad

Beth Goad is the Associate Director, New Student & Family Programs at Bridgewater State University.

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