Collaboration is vital to promote international understanding, raise cultural awareness and competency, and cultivate an environment of vibrant inclusion. A successful example of this intercultural collaboration is One World, One Purdue (OWOP), a series of events organized every November to support International Education Week (IEW). OWOP was conceptualized by the International Student Peer Coaching (ISPC) Program and the Global Engineering Programs and Partnerships (GEPP) of the College of Engineering in 2017, and expanded in 2019 with the participation of Cultural Catalysts, Purdue Fulbright Association (PFA), and the Environmental and Ecological Engineering Graduate Student Organization.

Planning for OWOP 2019 began with the realization that many organizations, especially cultural organizations, work independently in silos creating, at times, repetitive or conflicting events. We made this observation by documenting all the cultural events at Purdue every week for posting in the Cultural Catalysts (now OWOP) Facebook page and attending most of them. OWOP’s first role was to bring all these organizations into one common classroom and enable them to believe in a common goal of cultural celebration.

While OWOP is a vision shared by organizations whose missions are to celebrate culture, OWOP 2019 was a year-long effort to achieve that vision. Many initiatives were made possible through the team’s personal networks, resources, and collaboration. As a testament to its success, OWOP 2019 was named Co-Sponsorship/Collaboration of the Year, awarded to a collective effort for the betterment of campus, students and Purdue University by Purdue Student Life and the Student Activities and Organizations Office.

One of the key reasons for the success of OWOP 2019 is its collaborative efforts. The OWOP 2019 organizing committee quickly realized that to provide undergrads with maximum cultural exposure during a short time, OWOP would need the help of cultural organizations and programs on campus. The OWOP organizing committee worked with over 50 student groups and programs on campus to help organize their own event during the OWOP timeline.

OWOP 2019’s calendar featured close to 100 events throughout the weeks of November. Organizations reported that through collaboration with OWOP’s marketing team, events saw a diversification of the demographics of their audience. With limited funding, OWOP was able to bring in a large attendance throughout the events. At the same time, OWOP 2019 relied heavily on the core organizers and partners to spread the word and organize events. While this meant an over-stress especially on the core group, the enthusiasm of the group to push forward its objectives of increasing cultural competency and inclusion among students made the pilot university-wide celebration perform beyond what was expected.

If we are to institutionalize OWOP, we must ensure that it is properly funded every year. We also noticed that most of the attendees of these cultural events are international students and the goal for the next OWOP is to increase the attendance of domestic students through stronger promotions and more collaborations.