Students present handmade gifts to administration, faculty from their summer trip to Samoa

Allison Nail, Staff

Two IU Southeast students, Cassandra Guernsey, geoscience senior and Rachel Mulvey, fine arts senior spent, 30 days of their summer vacation in Samoa on a trip led by Anne Allen, professor of fine arts. Though Allen has traveled to Samoa several times, she said this was her first time taking students.

The students were given the opportunity to live with the Samoan people and work closely with other students at the National University of Samoa on collaborative artworks, several of which are on display in the lobby of Knobview Hall.

“The trip gave me a direction for my senior research study,” Guernesy said.

Upon return to the United States and the beginning of the semester, Allen and her students decided to present gifts to some of the faculty and administrators. They held a Samoan Gift Giving Ceremony Sept. 10 in the Ogle Center lobby.

The gifts were presented during a ceremony similar to a traditional ceremony held in Samoa. Several gifts were presented to each faculty member, including some of the collaborative artworks the students had made. Each recipient was given a lava-lava, a handmade cloth that the students made on their trip, and also a siapo, a hand-painted bark cloth traditional to the Samoan culture, among other favors.

“These are the people who helped and approved us to go [to Samoa] and we’re showing them respect and giving them the things that we’ve made,” said Mulvey.

To one recipient in particular, this was more than just a sign of respect and a peace offering.

“I really enjoyed the ceremony,” Chancellor Ray Wallace said. “I had visited Samoa in 1986 and viewed a similar ceremony. This IUS event brought me back to that special time in my life.”

Several other administrators received gifts as well—Uric Dufrene, executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dana Walve, vice chancellor for Administrative Affairs and Jason Meriwether, vice chancellor for Student Affairs . Guernsey and Mulvey also presented gifts to the Deans of their respective schools—Elaine Haub, dean of Natural Sciences and Samantha Earley, dean of Arts and Letters.

“I think the ceremony went pretty much as planned,” Allen said. “Besides presenting elements of Samoan culture, I hoped that everyone would have fun. They all seemed to.”

Students who are interested in learning more about the study abroad programs can contact the Director of International Programs, Lucinda Woodward or Co-Director of International Programs, Valerie Scott.