Over Thanksgiving break, Global Greeters made sure to spread holiday cheer to students staying in Charlottesville. The group hosted a Puppies and Pumpkins event at Grit Coffee Friday.
Global Greeters is a student-run group that works with the International Studies Office. The group decided to host Puppies and Pumpkins because many international students do not travel home for the short break.
“[The event] was really fun. We got four puppies and there were around 15-20 students, so we thought it was a good turnout,” Lexi Schubert, co-chair and third-year College student, said. “Everyone loved the puppies.”
The group contacted friends for the puppies and also supplied pumpkins and pumpkin-flavored treats. Grit Coffee provided one-dollar coupons.
The event served primarily as a study break for students.
“I’m glad we did it — I talked to a lot of people that said they had been studying for the past two days and hadn’t interacted with any other people,” Schubert said. “It was a great way to get people out of their dorms.”
Puppies and Pumpkins also brought international students together.
“It’s fun to meet and see people from all over the world,” Schubert said. “People were really happy.”
Although targeted at international students, Puppies and Pumpkins was open to all students staying on Grounds.
“We framed it as ‘Hoo’s Staying for Thanksgiving?’ with the idea that all people from far away places [in the U.S.] would feel welcome to come, as well,” Schubert said.
This event was planned early in the school year, around September. The majority of Global Greeters’ work is concentrated during orientation and the beginning of the year.
“We help the incoming international students to become acclimated to U.Va.’s culture,” Mariana Forero, co-president and second-year College student, said. “We help them with moving in and meeting new people, and [with] knowing the resources that are available to them.”
Forero became involved with Global Greeters after living in the International Residential College. She enjoys meeting and working with international students.
“It’s great being able to to meet them right when they get here and help them get through all the little things that everyone goes through right when they get to college,” Forero said.
Schubert is an international student from Munich, Germany. She said she was interested in ensuring that the fun games and events that take place at normal orientation sessions are available for international students at their orientation, as well.
“[International students] often come without any family, so we do organized shopping trips, trips to restaurants and other social events to help them settle in,” Schubert said. “We focus most of our energy on orientation and the first week, but we always try to have something around Thanksgiving or fall break.”
Last year, the group made care packages for students who stayed in Charlottesville. However, Global Greeters is trying to host more events to connect with students.
“A goal of mine [is] to create more in-person, informal ways for us to check up on the international students and see how they’re experiencing life at U.Va.,” Forero said. “I say ‘in-person’ because we send out surveys…but I would really like to continue our connection [with the students] throughout the year.”