RRC diversity and intercultural services throws back-to-school bash
Doug Koop, CONTRIBUTOR
Evans Coffie, a singer and musician, is at the centre of the dance floor with others surrounding him. He’s spent the last hour gradually drawing people into his show by allowing the audience to participate. Originally from Accra, Ghana, he immigrated to Canada 23 years ago. He states his age as ageless, and he barely stops moving and doesn’t sit down.
“Music keeps me young,” he said, as he taps his finger on a table. “Hey, quote this: ‘Red River College — it’s the best. I love it.’” He spreads his arms out wide.
The music is part of RRC’s annual Welcome Party for Immigrant and International Students, put on by diversity and intercultural services. International food, music and dancing brings together newcomers and immigrant students from all over the world at the event.
Lauren Konrad, the student integration coordinator for RRC, is running the party. She’s enthusiastic about the Stu- dent Refugee Program and the Syrian student who arrived two months ago.
“[This] program sponsors a student in a refugee camp to come to Canada to pursue post-secondary education at the college and share their experience,” she said.
Some of the volunteers helping run the party are also diversity ambassadors. These are immigrant or international students who promote diversity at RRC by supporting their peers, telling their stories and helping out at diversity and intercultural services activities.
Kyna Wu, a diversity ambassador from Tangshan, China, arrived in Canada on Boxing Day in 2014.
She said her favourite part of living in Winnipeg is the winter because of Festival du Voyageur and its winter outdoor cooking and snow sculptures at The Forks.
“It draws your friends together,” she said. “You can play games, watch movies. I love being with my friends.”
Wu left China originally to study broadcasting in New Zealand. She discovered a love for travel, so she pursued a degree in hospitality at RRC. She said coming to Canada was partly because it was like a bigger New Zealand with even more to explore. She said she has made many close friends at RRC.
“I’ve become more open since I’ve travelled,” she said. “There’s not so much judgement here. Everyone is friendly and nice. Clothes and looks aren’t important.”