Cultural cooking classes, multilingual speakers, film screenings and social outings to ethnic restaurants in St. Louis are just a few of the events that Webster’s new Global Culture Club (GCC) has in mind for the next academic year.
The club’s first information meeting was held on March 30, which was pushed back more than a month due to February snow. President Meghan O’Brien said that while the GCC is the departmental club for anthropology, sociology, global studies and languages, any major is welcome at the GCC.
“What we want is to get to know each other, talk to each other, learn from each other and our experiences and build new experiences together,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien said a key goal of the club is to expose members to other cultures and mix people from different backgrounds. The GCC hopes to discover and explore the variety of cultures in St. Louis, for example, possibly hosting a gathering on Cherokee Street for Cinco de Mayo.
The GCC will work with the faculty of Webster and other clubs, according to O’Brien. The new club also hopes to connect with professional organizations, such as the American Anthropological Institute, to provide students with diverse, cross-cultural, and inclusive opportunities to socialize and learn.
Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary Katarina Ausley said that in addition to hosting special events, the GCC will also have informal meeting places. She hopes members can just relax, chat and share cultural interests and knowledge at these gatherings.
Ausley said the club will hold two meetings a month both off and on campus. Options for off-campus meeting places include cafes or lounges. On campus, the club wants
“[We will have] language round tables – bringing people who speak more than one language to the table – … and there’s a great gourmet kitchen in the Browning Building that we have access to if we want to use it and get people to follow cooking class,” Ausley said.
Last semester, O’Brien met his colleague in anthropology, Michelle Milla, during a class they had together. Milla is now the GCC Historian. Their meeting and their conversations sparked the inspiration of the club.
“When I spoke to my adviser, the anthropology and sociology departments had just merged, so he said, ‘we need a new club for the department,’ and it went from there,” O’Brien said.
As a GCC historian, Milla said she wanted to help students share their thoughts on what Webster might be missing in terms of culture.
“What are some of the things we don’t have on campus and how can we take advantage of them and find out?” Milla said. “I want to be the person on the street taking surveys, talking to people [and] meet with [other organizations].”
Milla and O’Brien got the ball rolling by forming the club. Ausley, who is a double major in psychology and legal studies, joined after being recommended by a faculty member.
O’Brien said Ausley immediately wanted to get involved and take on leadership roles. His main goals for the club are to emphasize intersectionality and also champion the culture of learning within the disability framework.
“People can come and share their stories about their lives and their backgrounds. And I think groups with disabilities. There are a lot of different underrepresented cultures that are not just places geographically, but there is also an identity and I think that’s something that a lot of places forget to bring to the table,” said said Ausley. “I would like students to come and talk about their identity and culture and we can learn about different perspectives.
Ausley, who is from O’Fallon, Illinois, said she never had the opportunity to learn or be exposed to other cultures in her hometown.
“Being able to come to Webster and meet and talk to so many different people, I want that experience for other people as well,” Ausley said. “Because even if you don’t realize you have prejudices in your mind, once you start meeting and talking to other people, you start to appreciate the American melting pot that St. Louis really encompasses. “