After a trip to China, where she was welcomed into the culture and treated with care at all times, Morgan Gaston came back to Auburn wanting to do the same for the University’s international students.
“When we got to [China], I was culture shocked going into a completely different place, … but I never went to lunch alone. I didn’t have to find a class on my own,” Gaston said. “They took me to their meetings and clubs and brought me to everything.”
Gaston said the students in China were always willing to be her friend and show her around.
“It was humbling when I got back and thought, ‘Wow I have never done that for one of them,’” Gaston said.
When she came back, she joined the International Buddy Program, and, through her international buddy, she found out what their issues were with campus life. Gaston said Auburn is huge on diversity and inclusion, but there remains a disconnect despite the plethora of resources.
She wants to raise awareness for the international students and what resources are available while showing the local students how to welcome them into campus life.
One of the main platform points for Gaston is to add an administrative position to each organization called the International Liaison, alongside the president, vice president,
“Their job would be to include international students in meetings, events and trying to get them involved in the organization,” Gaston said. “If they can act as that bridge, it would speed up the process of integration.”
Gaston said while on the concourse she hopes to show international students that they are loved and a vital part of Auburn. She has international students working on her campaign, and they see the issues she is stressing.
Gaston said the international students are excited to stand with the team. She said having them on her campaign was the first step to showing students how serious she is about her platform.
Gaston said her platform has been done before in past years and has worked when building awareness, but the liaison program will help it move forward.
“One thing I really want this campaign to be about is the gospel,” Gaston said. “I think Auburn needs it, and I think that our international students need it. Being able to show the Lord and show the gospel through the relationship throughout the week is what it’s about.”
Gaston said she wouldn’t have the platform be what it is without her god. Along with her faith, she is thankful for the support from KA and her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.
Many of the international students and her sorority sisters will be on the concourse with Gaston. They will have a world map for students to mark where they have been and where they are from. Gaston said she wants to start relationships this week and she encourages students to come meet her team.
“We are trying to make our time on the concourse more relational and we want to connect people rather than focusing on handing out flyers,” Gaston said.