For the first time in its 25-year run, GlobalFest will be at Eastern this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
GlobalFest is a program for Illinois high schools and middle schools that celebrates different cultures and foreign language education.
Christiane Eydt-Beebe, the chair of the foreign languages department and a German professor, said Eastern will benefit greatly from hosting GlobalFest this year, as well as hopefully years to come.
“Many high schools, I think, in Illinois, don’t know about Charleston, they don’t know about Eastern, and this event would bring high schools from across Illinois into our campus,” Eydt-Beebe said. “(It will) really (allow them to) get an impression of the campus, of the campus community (and) also, of course, (the foreign languages) department.”
Spanish professor Kristin Routt said GlobalFest will allow students who maybe never considered college before to get a feel for what an actual campus looks and feels like.
“I think it’s great to get high school students on campus,” Routt said.
“Sometimes there (are) high schoolers who never thought about going to college, never thought it was for them, or they were intimidated by the prospect of going to college, and you get them on a campus and they’re like ‘oh, this is friendly, this is really cool, this is neat,’ and all of a sudden, (college) seems like more of a possibility for them.”
Eydt-Beebe said there are two main goals of this year’s GlobalFest.
“This is what GlobalFest is all about, (getting) to know other languages that your school may not be teaching, and of course, (being) exposed also to a campus community of international students,” Eydt-Beebe said.
GlobalFest will consist of an opening ceremony, lunch at Taylor Dining Hall, arts and crafts, discovery rooms and immersion rooms.
The sessions will be presented by volunteer high school teachers, as well as international students and clubs from Eastern.
Some of the immersion sessions will include languages from all over the world, such as Icelandic, Arabic, Swahili, Russian and other languages students might not normally be exposed to unless they went to a big university, Routt said.
GlobalFest used to be held in more northern cities, many closer to the Bloomington/Normal area.
Eydt-Beebe said it is time to bring a celebration of culture closer to southern schools.
“In the past …. (GlobalFest) was never, I think, farther south than Urbana. So we thought (Eastern) is a great location to attract schools from the southern Illinois area, and the central Illinois area for these schools (where) it wasn’t possible in the past to travel all the way to Chicago,” Eydt-Beebe said.
Eastern students who wish to volunteer can go to the website of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism to sign up for different sections of the day that need volunteers or can email Routt at [email protected] if the section they wanted to help at is filled.
Eydt-Beebe said she hopes Eastern will continue to host the GlobalFest annually.
“If Eastern is associated with GlobalFest annually as the established venue for this event, this would be a huge success for us,” Eydt-Beebe said.
Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]