On Monday, Eastern Michigan University’s ninth annual German-American Day was celebrated in the Student Center.
“We are thrilled to host this event,” Carla Damiano, professor of German, said at the beginning of Monday’s German-American Day.
German-American Day was founded in 1987. Congress made Oct. 6 an official day recognizing German-Americans. President Ronald Reagan signed the proclamation on Oct. 18, 1978.
EMU’s German-American Day celebrations counts as Learning Beyond the Classroom credit for students and included German T-shirts to be purchased, presentations from faculty, students and alumni, an authentic German dinner and a raffle for the first time this year.
The theme this year happened to be “Berlin-My Berlin-Mein Berlin.” Professor Elisabeth Daeumer, originally from Berlin, was the keynote speaker this year. Professor Margrit Zinggeler said she “gave perspective to students which is extremely valuable.”
This event unites a wide range of people to celebrate German culture. Many German scholarship donors, high school classes, and people from the community are able to participate and enjoy the event.
Damiano said she gave credit to having EMU resources for an open community venue. She also stressed the department’s gratitude to the community, international and EMU-related sponsors.
“We are really grateful for the different offices and businesses on campus and off campus that help to sponsor this event,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
Many students shared of their experiences during study abroad to Berlin and Giessen.
“I studied in Germany for one year, so Germany is a big part of me and a big part of who I am,” said Alysa Clemmons, president of the German club.
The EMU German Alumni Chapter was also represented by President Chris Puzzuoli, who spoke of his experiences. This is an active aspect of EMU’s German program and a big support to events such as these.
Dual-enrollment student Abigail Schmid, a junior at Pioneer High School, said after her study abroad experience, “any high schooler would want to go to Germany.” She is able to study German at EMU because of the dual enrollment program.
EMU also has a partnership with the University of Michigan through their contact Peggy Wunderwald. Alec Stenzel, Brian Keyt and Tamar Alder of U of M shared their internship experience in Berlin. The students often described Berlin as a spontaneous place with a variety of activities and places to explore and see.
After the presentations an authentic German dinner was provided, featuring key elements such as currywurst and apfelstrudel desserts.
Many of the raffle items were donations from the German Information Center in Washington and Community sponsors. The grand prize was a plane ticket to Berlin provided by Checkpoint Charlie Foundation, a foundation created to maintain relations between Germany and the U.S..
Anna-Lena Panter, a native German student majoring in German studies and philosophy as well as a German teacher said, “It was very interesting to get the American view on Berlin and German things in general. It’s also nice to have this German food here … it is nice that people want to celebrate that.”
Zinggeler’s and Damiano’s hard work was invaluable.
“It was the biggest and most successful to date,” Damiano said.
Zinggeler shared her thoughts on the event saying, “It was a student-centered celebration, an encouragement to continue with language and dream big to go visit these places.”
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