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Passport Photo Day at the Bunche Center
By Aisiriuwa C. Archield | October 22, 2019
To jumpstart the beginning of his term as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Rubin Patterson implemented a plan to ensure that every student in COAS has an active passport. With the help of a handpicked Passport Initiative Committee, including COAS faculty, staff, and students, Dean Patterson partnered with the Ralph Bunche Center for International Affairs to make this initiative happen. On Friday October 18, 2019, more than 200 students came one step closer to obtaining a passport to call their own. After completing registration applications a few weeks prior, the young scholars showed up in numbers to the Bunche Center for Passport Photo Day. The doors of the Bunche Center were propped open welcoming Howard stakeholders in. As student volunteers moved about the lobby, Gabrielle Hall, the Program Assistant for the Ralph Bunche Center, sat patiently at a small help desk waiting for the first line of the morning to begin to form.
“The Bunche Center has done Passport Drives for several years [but] usually on a smaller scale” said Ms. Hall. As students poured into the doors of the Bunche Center, Hall collected their documents and directed them to the student volunteers flashing the cameras to capture passport headshots. The purpose of the passport drive is to get more Howard students studying abroad in different countries. Study abroad experiences have proven to be just as valuable, in higher education, as classroom learning. It is so valuable that the United States government regularly funds student research travel through programs like Fulbright Hays which funds trips that cost well over $200,000.00. Howard students seem to recognize the value in study abroad as well. So much so that, the COAS Passport Initiative Committee had to limit the number of applications received. “We had to cap it for this semester at 230 [applications]. We are hoping to do one again in the future.” Ms. Hall added.
After every student has their new passport in tow, the team at the Ralph Bunche Center hopes that they return and use it to study abroad for a semester of during the summer of 2020. Gabrielle Hall also noted that other travel research opportunities will be available as well such as faculty-led study abroad trips. Together, the Bunche Center and COAS aim to globalize students here at Howard University.
To learn more about the Ralph Bunche Center for International Affairs click here.