Rend Lake College hosted an introductory event to out-of-district students at last week's "Taco Bar Welcome."
More than 100 students, coaches and staff gathered Aug. 24 in the RLC Event Center on the Ina Main Campus to celebrate the diverse student backgrounds at RLC. The event, hosted by Rend Lake College's Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee, aimed to bring students together and embrace the unique diversity of the student population.
The event began with RLC instructor and committee person Greg Hollmann organizing an ice breaker. The college venue had dozens of tables with labels of different geographic locations worldwide. Hollman asked participants, "Try to find and sit at a table representing where you are originally from."
Students and staff relocated from their original seats and found new tables. Hollmann went around the room to talk to different people from different locations. While some students were from southern Illinois, many were from other states and countries. Hollmann picked a few individuals to introduce themselves and discovered students from Venezuela, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Hollmann continued the icebreaker by asking guests to relocate based on their favorite sports teams, vacation spots and where they would like to be in 10 years. By the end of the icebreaker, most attendees had sat by each other at some point.
Hollmann concluded the icebreaker by saying, "As you can see, we all have had a lot of different paths. We have been to different places and aim for different goals. Right now, though, we are all at Rend Lake College and have each other. I am so glad you are all here."
The guests were then invited to enjoy the taco bar.
"I am glad we can help these students make connections at Rend Lake College," said Sarah Draper, RLC's student success and wellness coordinator and diversity, equity and inclusivity committee person. "Ultimately, we want to extend a warm welcome to students, in the district and beyond, to make friends and meet community members."
"I am enjoying Rend Lake College," said Colby Guy. "I have been making friends on the baseball team and finding my way around campus well." Guy comes from Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and will play for the Warriors baseball team.
"I am thankful to be able to attend Rend Lake College and play golf while doing so," said Marni Copeland of the United Kingdom. "These types of opportunities aren't available where I am from."
"I have always wanted to be an aesthetician," said Ana Manzano. "But, the opportunities were not available where I am from. I have been in the United States for six and a half years, and I love it. I love the beauty field, and I am glad to be able to study at Rend Lake College." Manzano moved to the United States from Colombia.