Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and VCU Richmond hostedVCUQatar Day on March 6, 2012 at the Commons Plaza on the VCU Richmond campus. A student initiated program, VCUQatar Day was inaugurated last year with the intention of strengthening the relationship between the two campuses and the understanding between the two cultures. The event provided Richmond students and faculty an opportunity for to learn more about VCU’s Qatar campus.
Tents were set up in the Commons Plaza and featured various traditional Arab activities. Perfumed smoke from Arabic Oud (incense) and Khaliji music greeted visitors as they entered. Students from VCUQatar and from the Intercultural Club applied henna designs and VCU students were also able to try on various Arabian perfumes and dress up in traditional Qatari costumes.
This year, VCUQatar Day additionally featured a trunk show of works designed by fashion alumni from VCUQatar and Richmond. In addition, the Student Art space inside the Student Commons exhibited work by VCUQatar students. Souvenirs from the region were distributed at the event while VCUQatar students skilled in Arabic calligraphy wrote student names on cards. Visitors also savored Arabic coffee and sweets.
The event was sponsored by the Activities Programming Board and the Student Government Association with support from the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services.
“This has been a year-long program with many different elements to it. SGA leaders visited us in Qatar to share leadership skills and student curators from the Student Art Space visited to share with us curatorial skills. It was fabulous to see all this exchange culminate in VCUQatar Day,” said Valerie Jeremijenko, assistant dean for Student Affairs at VCUQatar.
“Global challenges, as well as our increasing cultural diversity make it necessary for us to learn about other cultures and traditions so we can create students, scholars, artists, and citizens who understand the languages, beliefs, and values that define both self and other in the modern world. We see VCUQatar Day as this platform that not only presents the dynamic programs that encompass VCU’s campus in Qatar but also showcases VCUQatar’s extraordinary faculty and student resources while providing friends and family at VCU the opportunity to come together and experience Qatar’s rich culture,” said VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone.