Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 16, 2012

Stillwater mayor will greet international students on Saturday

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Mayor John Bartley will greet Oklahoma State University’s newest international students at the annual Mayor’s Welcome from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Wes Watkins Center on the corner of Hall of Fame and Washington Streets on the OSU campus.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Bartley said. “I’m proud to participate. I hope they get a sense of comfort. I know I’m going to be shaking as many hands as I can.”

The community is invited to attend to help welcome the students. Refreshments will be available.

“This gives us a chance to show our international students that the city of Stillwater is committed to them, just like we are at OSU,” said Tim Huff, manager of the Office of International Students and Scholars. “It’s a warm welcome that not all college campuses can say. When they first arrive from overseas, many of them have been traveling for 20 or more hours. ... Then they have this warm embrace by the city officials and the university.”

Shumeng Jiang and Hao Pan, OSU transfer students from China, said they will attend the event.

“It’s what we need,” said Jiang, a 20-year-old from Tianjin, China. “I hope to be able to tell the mayor that we appreciate his consideration and patience. That’s a big help for us. People here in Stillwater are impressive. When we go to Walmart, residents will always stop and help us and give us advice on which product is better.”

“I feel privileged to be welcomed by this campus and the city,” said Pan, a 21-year-old from Yantai, China. “Being here in Stillwater, and having something like this, gives us a chance to see what America is really all about, not just what is in the textbooks. People here have been very hospitable. I feel at home here.”

The welcome event began in the late 1980s when then-Stillwater Mayor Mike Henson sensed the need to introduce the new arrivals from abroad to what Stillwater has to offer.

Huff said the program has grown to be so popular that new guidelines needed to be adopted to restrict the event to only new students. He said as many as 500 new international students are expected to participate.


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