I-Fair: behind the scenes
Year of planning becomes a week of culture
Although I-Fair only lasts a week, the planning process takes nearly a year. TKS talked to some of the event’s planners to find out how the whole thing is put together.
The spring before I-Fair, the I-Club executive board meets to choose a theme for next year’s event. For 2012, they chose “Growing Up International.” They started brainstorming ideas for logos and events they wanted to see during next year’s I-Week.
Once fall term arrived, the I-Club executive board — the event’s main planners — and I-Club members broke up into committees responsible for different segments of the event. Different committees were responsible for things such as the faculty lectures, events throughout the week, the I-Fair performances and the food booths. Sophomore Andrei Papancea was put in charge of I-Magazine, a publication featuring art and stories reflective of the year’s theme.
“I had to collect submissions from other people,” Papancea said. “Then I had to put everything together. I had to work with the PR office as well to find the printing company.”
This year’s I-Fair saw a heightened cooperation between numerous departments on campus and the I-Fair planners, helped by Interim International Student Coordinator Tim Schmeling ’11.
“I serve as the staff person and the staff liaison,” Schmeling, who coordinated between groups such as Knox’s PR department and the I-Fair PR committee, said.
Freshman Armor Wisler helped plan I-Fair for the first time and spent fall term coming up with ideas for the events of I-Week, primarily the Amazing Race, a spin-off a television show where teams compete in challenges across the globe.
“Some of the people last year had complained that it wasn’t long enough, so we wanted to double the time,” Wisler said.
Over break, Papancea continued to solicit submissions for the I-Mag; the final product was finished a week before the event. Once back on campus, the pace of planning picked up for everyone involved.
“January, that’s when things get very serious,” Schmeling said. “Then it’s confirmation and confirming.”
Once I-Fair weekend hits, everything happens at once. Friday, Jan. 27 featured the second annual Amazing Race — participants drank hot sauce, matched I-Club executive members with their respective countries and had to sing a Chinese song, among other tasks.
Friday night was the second and last rehearsal for the I-Fair performances and flag parade, which would take place on Saturday. The Oak Room was set up for the international food booths the next day and clubs put finishing touches on displays to be featured in the lobby of the Ford Center for the Fine Arts.
Last minute details were taken care of on Friday and Saturday even as the events were going on — for example, figuring out how to provide dinner for Saturday’s closing act, a comedian.
Overall, members of I-Club exec felt this year’s I-Fair was extremely successful.
“Helmut said 150 more students participated in the food event than in past years,” Schmeling said. “I take great pride that the flag parade had 51 flags in it. It was noticeably bigger.”
“I was talking to some suitemates who want to come to I-Club meetings now,” Wisler said.
Wisler, who is planning to be involved with next year’s I-Fair planning as well, is already thinking ahead to future events.
“After the race, we wrote down everything we could change for next year,” she said.
Schmeling also noted the need to be thinking ahead.
“Plan early, plan often,” he said. “It’s never too early to start planning I-Fair.”
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