CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will formally dedicate its new International Living-Learning Center this Monday, Oct. 10, with a free public ceremony that begins at 4 p.m.
The center, which is home to about 320 domestic and international students, opened this fall at its campus location on Western Boulevard in Corvallis. The new facility also houses the INTO OSU Center and some of the administrative offices for OSU’s International Programs department.
“This new center is a wonderful, vibrant symbol of all that we have accomplished together since 2008, when we launched the process to create INTO OSU,” said Sabah Randhawa, the university’s provost and executive vice president. “Growing our international enrollment and continuing the globalization of Oregon State for all of our students is a top priority, and the center is a significant part of that effort.”
Dan Larson, associate director of University Housing and Dining Services at OSU, said the center also houses 26 classrooms, a general-purpose auditorium, offices for faculty and INTO OSU staff, as well as a market and coffee shop.
“The center is geared toward providing residents the opportunity to learn about other cultures,” Larson said. “It really celebrates the international experience for all students. Many students from Oregon and other states have requested to live in the center because of the exposure to different cultures, and the international students like the opportunity to become fully integrated into the student body.”
OSU’s international enrollment had declined to a total of just 4.5 percent of the overall university enrollment after 2001, in part because of the economy and in part because of national travel restrictions on students from other countries. Randhawa and OSU President Ed Ray have set a goal for the university to have an international enrollment that is 10 percent of the overall student body.
This fall, 974 undergraduate students and 682 graduate students from other countries enrolled at OSU, boosting international enrollment to about 6.5 percent of the university’s overall enrollment of more than 25,000.
“We are making excellent strides,” Randhawa said, “but we are not yet where we need to be.”
The collaboration OSU launched with INTO University Partnerships in 2008 is helping to bring more international students to campus, OSU officials say. The resulting INTO OSU Center provides English language classes, academic “Pathway” programs, counseling and acculturation initiatives for students to help prepare them for enrolling as full-time students.
This is the third year of the INTO OSU program, which had a target this fall of bringing in about 745 students. More than 870 have enrolled under the INTO OSU umbrella, said center director Amy McGowan.
“We’re seeing a great deal of interest in Oregon State University from students around the world,” McGowan said. “As the program grows, and students talk about their wonderful experience here, we should get even more interest in OSU from that word-of-mouth perspective.”
Valerie Rosenberg, director of international admissions for OSU, said bringing students from other countries to campus is only part of the commitment. Ensuring that they are successful upon matriculating is even more important, she emphasized.
“The campus has really rallied around a goal of creating an international university,” Rosenberg said.