Lanterns offers an opportunity for community building and cultural education

MLC presents Lanterns on Thursday, February 15, 2018 in Alumni Hall. (Photo by Emily Gonçalves)

MLC presents “Lanterns” on Thursday, February 15, 2018 in Alumni Hall. (Photo by Emily Gonçalves)

Avery Muir, Life Editor

The Multicultural Leadership Council launched Lanterns about five years ago, hoping to create a platform for international students to share stories about their transition to Vanderbilt, their homes, cultures and identities.

This Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7:00 p.m. in Alumni Lounge 100, Lanterns will once again provide the opportunity for seven students to showcase their stories.The event  will also feature performances by Melanated A Cappella and Sam Lee and Nancy Yuan. MLC International Relations Co-Chair Andrew Ahn organized the event, and emphasized the value of hearing so many diverse perspectives in an open forum.

“I personally believe the best piece of resource and learning you have around is you is the people around you,” Ahn said. “Coming to an event like Lanterns can really allow for other students to hear how life is in other parts of the world, and can become a reciprocative learning experience for both the listeners and the speakers who go through the process of crafting their stories.”

Throughout the writing process, speakers have a lot of autonomy to talk about what they feel passionate about and to express their thoughts however they choose. While sharing stories in a coffeehouse-style setting is inherently powerful, first time speaker Adriana Calderon said one of her favorite parts of preparing for Lanterns was the weekly meetings. Calderon explained how the speakers all got to know each other on a deeper level and learn about each individual’s experiences.

“Cultural showcases are wonderful because not only do they provide visibility to groups and issues that aren’t usually under the spotlight on campus, but they also help build community in the process leading up to the actual event,” Calderon said. “You bond with the people going through it with you, and often these are people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s the same thing with Lanterns: a group of people from many very different walks of life and social circles, coming together, getting to know each other and sharing that with the rest of Vanderbilt.”

Find out more about some of the MLC’s other upcoming events here.