Hello everyone! I hope you all had a restful summer and are feeling recharged for the upcoming school year. If you’re a new resident, welcome to I-House! For those who may not know what to expect, here is a comprehensive guide to some of the amazing events we have in store for you and some highlights from last year’s events!
I-House Welcome Week
At the beginning of the year, Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership & Programs hosts a “Welcome Week,” where residents have the chance to get to know each other, as well as learn about all the fun that Berkeley and the Bay Area have to offer! Last year, I really enjoyed meeting other residents during our trip to the BAMPFA, our ice skating event in Oakland, and on our hike to the Big C. Being an international student who had moved to the U.S. for the first time, on top of having spent my first year of college at home online with little to no social interaction, it was refreshing to be able to talk with others who had shared these experiences with me. I made some of my closest friends during Welcome Week and we still reminisce over our memorable first interactions, from slipping on the ice together to speculating over the fastest way to hike down a hill. These events are hosted by our lovely I-House Resident Assistants (RAs), who also do an amazing job of organizing various floor socials throughout the school year, where you can further get to know your floormates!
Last year’s Welcome Week featured a BAMPFA visit, ice skating at Oakland and a Big C hike! Thank you Vighnesh N. for the hiking photos!
On August 24 there will be a mandatory Town Hall Meeting from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in our Chevron Auditorium, as well as a Coffee Hour Social from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Great Hall. We will also be hosting overnight New Student Orientation retreats from August 26 to 27 and August 27 to 28 at Green Mountain Retreat where you can make new friends and enjoy the great outdoors! Registration is open until August 19 and you can learn more and sign up at ihouse.berkeley.edu/retreats. More information about Welcome Week will be posted soon on the official 2022-23 Resident Group on I-House Berkeley Connect and the Resident Facebook group!
Coffee Hours and Cultural Events
Every Wednesday evening, I-House hosts a country or region-specific Coffee Hour, giving our residents the opportunity to share their culture with the rest of the I-House community. From Chinese Dragon dance performances to henna tattoo stations, last year was filled with amazing events that brought residents from all around the world together to celebrate the diversity that I-House stands for. Being from the Philippines and raised in Japan, I had the privilege of participating in both I-House’s Japanese Coffee Hour and Southeast Asian Summer event.
Some of our Coffee Hour flyers from last year made by our residents!
Watching the Great Hall transform into what looked like a Japanese summer festival back at home was surreal, with Japanese residents walking around in beautiful yukatas, origami crafts at every corner, and lively J-pop and J-rock music echoing throughout the building. I had the opportunity to perform three songs with talented saxophonist and one of my closest friends, Shudo Yoshiara, who was an exchange student from Keio University. At first, singing in front of everyone made me nervous, but the crowd of residents that gathered in front of us quickly put me at ease, as it was really nice to see everyone having a good time. I really enjoyed watching my friends participate in the yukata photoshoot, as well as the trivia games that our resident event organizers had put together. I’m truly thankful to have had the opportunity to share what I love most about the place I grew up in with the rest of the I-House community!
Last March’s Japanese Coffee Hour! Thank you Nagi H. for the amazing photos!
The final cultural event of the year was hosted by our Southeast Asian residents, who threw a lively summer-themed event. Being one of the lead organizers of this event, I truly enjoyed working with residents from Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia on putting together an event that was reminiscent of what our childhood summers were like. While preparing mango sticky rice and halo halo (a Filipino crushed ice dessert), we talked about how we each used to spend our summer vacation. I was surprised to find out that despite being from different countries, we shared many familiar experiences, from drinking Milo dinosaurs in the heat to playing flip-flop games. The event was a huge success, featuring live vocal performances in various different languages, a group tinikling dance from the Philippines and the aforementioned flip-flop games in our Heller Patio. Residents enjoyed the food and drink we made for them and it was very heartwarming to see everyone experiencing the joys of our Southeast Asian upbringing with us.
Photos from our Southeast Asian Summer event in May, as well as some behind-the-scenes smiles 🙂
Residents always look forward to our cultural events at I-House—they provide the perfect environment for de-stressing with good food and exciting entertainment, as well as a way to learn more about other residents’ cultures. Here are what some of our resident event organizers had to say about our Coffee Hours and cultural events:
One of our biggest events last semester was our Resident Benefit Concert for Ukraine, which was organized by our hardworking Resident Concert Committee. In light of the war in Ukraine, all proceeds from ticket purchases went to providing relief for Ukrainian war victims with disabilities. This concert featured several of our talented I-House residents who put a lot of time and effort into practicing and preparing various musical performances, ranging from a beautiful strings and piano quintet to a pípá and cello collaboration. One of my favorite moments from the concert was when the audience pulled their phones out and waved their flashlights during a performance of “Imagine” by John Lennon. Seeing all of our performers come out onstage to sing The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” perfectly brought the night to an end as the audience clapped and sang along. I’m very thankful for the Concert Committee for giving me the opportunity to perform original music at the concert—their support and eagerness to turn my song into a live band performance really made my musical dreams come true! Definitely looking forward to witnessing more of I-House’s talent this coming year!
Last semester’s Resident Benefit Concert! Thank you Berk D. for the awesome shots!
Towards the end of the Spring semester, I-House also hosted a “Sunday Supper” formal event held at our Chevron Auditorium. Residents dressed up to attend a banquet that served to commemorate the friendships and memories we all made last year. We enjoyed a night packed with performances and speeches made by I-House faculty and residents, as well as a delicious buffet-style dinner provided by our wonderful catering staff. One of our residents and 2019 Davis Project for Peace award-winner, Maha Siddiqui, gave an inspiring presentation on her work on bridging gaps in healthcare in marginalized communities. This event, one of I-House’s oldest traditions, closed with a beautiful Candlelight Ceremony led by our I-House Executive Director, Shaun Carver. Seeing the auditorium gradually illuminate with candlelight was a magical experience and truly a beautiful way to close both the event and our year at I-House. Be on the lookout for our formal events in the future!
Highlights from our Sunday Supper back in April! Thank you Berk D. for the 9th, 15th and 18th photos!
Throughout the academic year, I-House also celebrates many different holidays and events that are happening all around the world. Whether it be a themed dinner provided by our dining hall staff, Valentine’s Day crafts in the Great Hall, or a screening of a soccer match at Edmonds’ Café, these smaller-scale events are truly uplifting and make I-House a little more exciting on what would otherwise be a regular school day. Enjoy these photos from last year!
Last year featured a Halloween costume contest, rangoli sand art at our Dining Hall steps for Diwali, St. Patrick’s Day-themed desserts, a Latin American Cultural Dinner, and watching the Real Madrid vs. Man City soccer match at Edmonds’ Café!
Our events here at I-House never fail to disappoint. So many of my favorite memories were made through organizing, witnessing, and participating in these events, and I can’t wait to share the fun we have with all of you as one of your RAs this year! I really encourage you all to attend our events, as they’re experiences you truly won’t want to miss!