For many international students arriving at U.S. colleges and universities, this is their first time, alone, in a foreign country. What better way to help them feel welcome and make new friends than to give them a big, traditional "welcome to the U.S.A." picnic?
Lincoln Rotary Club #14’s International Student Picnic, an annual tradition, was held Sept. 10 at Holmes Lake Park. Around 100 students attended from all corners of the globe.
Guided by the Rotary #14 International Student Picnic committee, the event has been expanded to include all first-year students arriving at any of the university and college campuses in and around Lincoln. Since August 2004, the picnic has hosted between 75 and 110 students each year.
The participating schools promote the event, register the students and transport them to and from the event. As students arrive at the park, they are encouraged to place a peg on a large world map showing their home country. They engage in typical picnic games such as a water balloon toss, tug-of-war and relay races. After working up an appetite, the students enjoy a traditional American picnic lunch with hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salads and desserts. Food is donated by local businesses and Rotary members.
The International Student Picnic is a fun opportunity for Lincoln Rotary Club #14 to accomplish its goal of “Peace Through Service.” Christina Usher chaired the picnic committee.