CRISP event kicks off on Feb. 5
An ice breaking event between international students and local families will be held from 10-12 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Nigh University Center Ballrooms.
The event, titled the CRISP Kickoff, introduces new local families to international students to kick off the Community Responding to International Students Program (CRISP).
“We will split them into two rooms, after that we will introduce them to their families and students. They can take as long as they want to get to know each other,” said Wei Nah Long, who is running the event and is the international programming community coordinator at the UCO International House.
Long says that icebreaker questionnaires are provided because “sometimes it’s kind of weird because of the culture difference, we don’t know what is the right or wrong questions to ask.”
According to the organization’s website, CRISP pairs international students with families from the Edmond and Oklahoma City area in monthly events so that both parties can learn about each other’s cultures and ways of living.
The kickoff not only allows the student and family pairs to familiarize with each other but also allows them to mingle with other pairs.
In order to participate, both students and families are required to apply for the program and are paired together based on their application forms and Long’s approval.
“We do our best to make them feel comfortable. Before the kickoff, we separate the families and students in different rooms to brief them on their expectations,” Longshe said.
“If an international student does approach us and is having a hard time adjusting to a family, we first talk to the student and see what their concerns are. If it is something we can fix, we usually try our best to, but sometimes we may have to repair a student with a new family they fit with a bit better,” said Grace Wray, who was formerly involved with CRISP.
Long said that the application window is already closed, but students can apply when it opens again on the first Saturday of April.
According to Long, the applications for students and parents are different. She said the program is promoted to them during orientation day while families are recruited during tabling events at churches.
With the campus currently in Level 2 COVID-19 operations, Long said that she plans to downsize the event and have all participants wear masks. Unlike previous kickoff events, packaged snacks will be given to the participants in place of a full-fledged meal.
“We also expect to not have a full meal where people have to take off their mask and eat. I think that’s a better way of trying to avoid the spread of COVID,” Long said.
“The reception is great, it really means a lot to the students to get to know the Edmond community and feel support while learning about American culture,” Wray said.
Although she is no longer involved with CRISP, Wray says that she still helps Long whenever it is needed.
According to the UCO CRISP Facebook page, CRISP is not a host family program in that the students do not live with the families that they are paired with. For any questions, students email Long at email@example.com.