TTU Tech Buddies promotes intercultural exchange during banner first year

Posted by Lori Shull - Tuesday, April 24 2012
lshull@tntech.edu

 

thumb Tech_Buddies_Meet_n_Greet_116When Peggy Kilgore, English instructor at Tennessee Tech University, started Tech Buddies, she expected maybe 15 pairs of students to sign up.

Having 10 times that number nearly blew her away.

The program, begun this year, fosters intercultural exchanges between American and international TTU students. Kilgore started it when she became the faculty head of the Service Station Learning Village in TTU’s New Hall South.

“When I looked at the numbers and saw that 300 students were involved, I was dancing across campus,” she said. “I have always felt that serving each other is our real calling. You can make all kinds of money and win all kinds of awards, but if you haven’t helped anyone, what’s the point?”

In keeping with the Learning Villages’ mission of bridging the gap between social and academic sides of campus life, Kilgore’s group fostered friendships, while finishing projects and having discussions about cultures spanning the globe.

Through projects in her American literature and composition classes, the buddies made scrapbooks, discussed cultural stereotypes and investigated the arts.

“I got to go in depth and give students the opportunity to look at culture a deeper way,” Kilgore said. “No one was forced to do this; they were allowed to do alternative projects, but no one asked to.”

As the academic year winds down, all of the Tech Buddies will get together for a celebration and food at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in the New Hall South lobby.

The Service Station is one of four learning villages on campus. Each has a different theme: community service, the environment, engineering and women. They began two years ago to bring students and faculty together outside of the classroom and to promote common interests.

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