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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Rebel Global Connection Broadens World-View for Elementary Students

Rebel Global Connections reaches out to underprivileged elementary students by joining national and international students together to teach a diverse world-view.

Rebel Global Connections is a new group on campus that helps build connections between local students and international students.

The goal of this group is for both international and U.S. students to come together for a field trip for elementary school students from the Delta. Rebel Connections will plan a day for the students to visit campus and learn about cultures around the world.

“Rebel Global Connections aims to alleviate the problem of cultural isolation for elementary school children from high-needs districts by introducing them to a variety of cultures and languages from around the world through age-appropriate programming,” AmeriCorps VISTA member Erin Mauffray said. Mauffray, who works for the organization on campus, is in charge of getting the group set up and going with the advisement of several faculty members. Throughout the semester, the group will plan a variety of activities, including social and service opportunities. “We are planning activities to encourage the students to interact with each other and the community around them,” international studies senior Kathy Trabue said.

Two activities planned for March include a potluck luncheon and a program for third through fifth graders from Crenshaw Elementary School who are visiting for a baseball game. “Rebel Global Connections also combats the cultural isolation seen on college campuses by charging university students from a variety of backgrounds with the task of organizing and implementing the activities,” Mauffray said. “Previously unconnected groups of students will work together as a group, and they will benefit from the task through language exchanges, networking and service. National and international college students and Mississippi’s elementary school children will gain an awareness of each other and the many opportunities the world has to offer through Rebel Global Connections.”

Rebel Global Connections is open to all University of Mississippi students, especially those interested in international affairs, service and language exchange. Students from 11 different countries and 16 different states attended the interest meeting on Jan. 29. “Regarding our mission, I feel that this is a great way to bring knowledge of the world to others by reaching out to elementary students from the Delta who don’t normally have the opportunity to see what the world has to offer,” said Conner Clark, a freshman international studies and Chinese major and member of Rebel Global Connections.

“This could be a potentially life-changing event for these kids, and I am excited to be a part of it.” Albert Nylander, the director of the McLean Institute for Partnerships and Community Engagement, spoke during the Feb. 11 meeting about the institute providing, supporting and funding Rebel Global Connections. “Our mission is to rally the university to make a difference in our communities by fighting poverty through education,” Nylander said.

“McLean Institute will be there to support Rebel Global Connections as they reach out to the Mississippi Delta area to connect, learn and make a difference in people’s lives that need them.” Tracy Koslowski, the instructor and coordinator for service learning in the intensive English program, has reached out to elementary schools for four years by introducing them to international students. “I have been going to visit schools for four years,” she said.

“We had passport days where international students present their countries to kids at the school. I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity for my students as well as the elementary students to learn about different countries and cultures.” “This allows the children to learn about different cultures through an actual person from that culture or country instead of just reading about it in a textbook. It also allows my students to interact and practice communication skills they need to succeed in an American university.”

From the DM by Kayla Carpenter