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Volume 11 Edition 5: January/February 2012 Emily Holmes, Editor

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Student Highlights

Architectural Sojourn to India teaches more than Architecture

UNCG student in India

Clairissa Anderson surrounded by school girls in India


Clairissa Anderson and Carlos Smith, Interior Architecture students at UNCG, were two of a group of thirteen UNCG students, faculty, staff, and alumni who traveled to India on an architectural sojourn in March 2010. The trip provided that group with the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit some of India’s most captivating structures. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Qutub Minar in Delhi, India, which is India’s tallest tower standing at 2.75 meters. Construction on the tower began in 1192 A.D., and it is considered a timeless example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture.

Student in India

Carlos Smith at Qutub Minar

It was during their visit to Qutub Minar that Smith was able to take the above photo of Anderson, which he later entered in UNCG’s International Education Week 2011 Photo Contest. Anderson recalls the scene from the photo as follows:

“Carlos and I were so mesmerized by the size and scale of the structure as we were walking through the monument that we neglected to notice the class of about fifty young girls who were more interested in studying us than the monument. At one point Carlos said, ‘Hey Clairissa, look behind you!’ As soon as I turned around, I found myself in a swarm of young girls. Each girl was very anxious to ask me questions and to tell me their names. Yes, I was introduced to all fifty girls. I was quickly reminded that I was no longer in North Carolina. I specifically remember one girl asking me if she could touch my skin. She said that I looked so delicate that she thought I might break if she touched me. As soon as I replied ‘yes’ to her request, all of the girls reached out to touch the exposed skin of my arms. One girl asked which ‘lightening cream’ I had used. The confused look on my face must have said it all as another girl asked, ‘Where do you come from?’ I told them that I was an American, and they proceeded to tell me that they use beauty products to lighten their skin. Naturally, I could not help but to laugh and tell them that where I come from ‘girls and women pay a lot of money to have their skin darkened, like yours.’ They thought I was lying.

I also remember a girl saying, ‘Your eyes are like precious stones from Jaipur.’ I was struck by her comment, and I tried to imagine a young American girl, of the same age, paying a similar complement to a foreigner. Would that American girl even know where natural resources in the United States come from? I asked the girls what grade they were in, and they told me that their ages ranged from eleven to sixteen years old. About half of their class was either already married or they were arranged to be married soon. They were appalled that I was twenty-one and looked the way I did and yet had no husband.  Their teachers were equally interested in me and did not seem to mind the students studying me more than the architecture and history of the site we were all visiting. Meanwhile, my professor, Tina Sarawgi, was franticly calling the bus driver to come and pick us up (woman in blue in the upper right corner of the photograph). After this first encounter with the people of India, Tina and I decided that it would be best for me to buy a hat or a scarf to cover my head so as not to become the main attraction of the existing structures and monuments that we had yet to visit.”

Anderson goes on to explain how the experience changed her. She says that it was, “an enormous eye opener,” and that she remembers having more culture shock when she returned to the U.S. than she experienced in India. Anderson also says that she is now better able to appreciate her education and the opportunities that she has to learn and to share her new perspective with others.

Model United Nations

UNCG Model UN students in Singapore

WorldMUN participants in Singapore

UNCG’s Model United Nations (UN) class participated in the twenty-second annual Southern Regional Model UN (SRMUN) in Atlanta on November 17-19, 2011. Nineteen students represented Canada and Namibia in simulations of UN committees and affiliated agencies. The conference brought together some 700 students from approximately 40 colleges and universities from around the region. Students assumed the roles of diplomats from their assigned countries and debated important international issues with the goal of writing resolutions to address those issues. Committee members then voted on these resolutions.

The students prepared for the event by compiling information on their countries and studying the agenda topics posted on the SRMUN website, as well as learning about the UN and the rules of procedure for the conference. Model UN requires students not only to think about international issues from the perspective of foreign diplomats but also to experience the challenge of reaching an agreement on complex international problems. It also enhances students’ research, public speaking, writing, and negotiating skills. UNCG has participated in SRMUN for the last nineteen years.

Prior to the most recent regional event, seven UNCG students from the Lloyd International Honors College had the opportunity to participate in the World Model United Nations (WorldMUN). WorldMUN was held in Singapore in March of 2011 after a three-day delay due to the Japanese earthquake. The students were joined in Singapore by other students from around the world in simulations of the United Nations. Organized somewhat differently from SRMUN, UNCG students at WorldMUN represented several different countries. Andrea Schronce received an award for her participation and was recognized at the closing ceremonies at the conference.

UNCG is proud to participate in the Model UN activities, which have been supported over the years largely through an annual contribution from the IPC Kohler Fund.

Previous editions:
- Vol 11, ed 4: December 2011
- Vol 11, ed 3: November 2011
- Vol 11, ed 2: October 2011
- Vol 11, ed 1: September 2011

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