Saudi students hold informative expo for campus community

PHOTO PROVIDED
Omar A. Aljallal, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major, takes visitors on a journey to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

PHOTO PROVIDED Omar A. Aljallal, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major, takes visitors on a journey to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabian students at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently organized a crosscultural presentation to familiarize the campus community with their homeland.

One year after their initial program – which won two honors at the 2015 Student Activities Awards banquet – the Saudi Student Organization returned to the college’s Thompson Professional Development Center for a follow-up event.

“Being at Penn College, where students get the most support, gave us a chance to share and discuss our pride freely,” said Abdulaziz S. Alomani, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major, who was among those involved in planning the Oct. 24 Saudi Expo. “The event came about to serve as a cultural bridge between the United States and Saudi Arabia and to allow us to share with our American friends what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is all about.”

After watching a short video clip, attendees were led through the PDC’s Mountain Laurel Room conference area. Students staffed a variety of stations that comprehensively addressed a variety of topics about Saudi Arabia: education, government, holy cities, health care, humanitarian endeavors, religious faith, attire, perfumery and food. They also brought in a special guest from York College to discuss women in Saudi Arabia.

There were exhibitions of native dance, as well as speakers who presented from an American perspective: Dan Egli, an area psychologist who has hosted Saudi exchange students; Mark Leffler, an assistant technical professor of business administration at King’s College; and Abdul-Rahim Ali, an active member of the Williamsport community.

The group invited 50 VIPs, both from campus and the community, who joined the Saudi students for a brief ceremony and special dinner at the conclusion of the event. Each attendee was given a nametag, with his or her name translated in Arabic, and a commemorative gift.

Alomani said the group is grateful for support from the college – particularly President Davie Jane Gilmour and Katie L. Mackey, director of campus and community engagement.

“I was truly amazed at the amount of time, energy and pure effort that was given by the Saudi Student Organization from the inception to the completion of the expo. I was proud to meet several members of our Williamsport community that attended the event to support our students and their initiative to educate attendees,” Mackey said. “It was uplifting to see the strong impact that our students have had on many individuals both on campus and community-wide. I am honored and thankful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with the organization this year and to see this great event come to fruition!”