To anyone passing by the Hintz Family Alumni Center that night in August, it might have looked like a TV show called “American Idol Goes Global” was holding auditions. In reality, it was part of the fun when the Penn State Alumni Association and the Centre County chapter welcomed international students to the Penn State University Park campus.
For new international students at Penn State, arriving in State College can feel like what it is: a foreign country. To ease that transition, the Alumni Association, the Centre County Chapter, and Global Connections co-sponsor the annual Community Welcome Reception for New International Students and Scholars.
The evening is truly a community event: Penn State and local leaders welcome the students, two local Women’s Clubs supply the refreshments, Centre County Chapter members solicit door prizes from local merchants, and Bill Saxton of International Ministries leads the students in Penn State cheers.
“One of the highlights of the evening is when we tell the students we’ve saved some prizes for anyone who will get up and sing,” said David Miller ’53, Centre County Chapter president. Alone and in small groups the students—with some coaxing—sing folk songs or the national anthems of their native countries.
“This year they turned the tables on us,” Miller said, “and asked us to sing the United States’ national anthem.” The hosts graciously complied and delivered “The Star Spangled Banner” a cappella.