INA, Ill. (August 25, 2022) — Rend Lake College hosted an introductory event to out-of-district students at last night's Taco Bar Welcome. Over 100 students, coaches, and staff gathered in the RLC Event Center on the Ina Main Campus to celebrate the diverse student backgrounds at RLC. The event, hosted by Rend Lake College's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee, aimed to bring students together and embrace the unique diversity of the student population. 

Rend Lake College students at the Taco Bar Welcome Event for out-of-district students.

The event began at 6:00 pm with RLC Instructor and committee person Greg Hollmann organizing an ice breaker. The college venue had dozens of tables with labels of different geographic locations worldwide. Hollman asked participants, "Try to find and sit at a table representing where you are originally from." 

Greg Hollmann, Rend Lake College Instructor and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity Committee person, delivers an icebreaker exercise at Taco Bar Welcome Event.

Students and staff relocated from their original seats and found new tables. Hollmann went around the room to talk to different people from different locations. While some students were from Southern Illinois, many were from other states and countries. Hollmann picked a few individuals to introduce themselves and discovered students from Venezuela, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Greg Hollmann, Rend Lake College Instructor and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity Committee person, asks guests about their favorite sporting events at the Taco Bar Welcome Event. 

Hollmann continued the icebreaker by asking guests to relocate based on their favorite sports teams, vacation spots, and where they would like to be in 10 years. By the end of the icebreaker, most attendees had sat by each other at some point. 

Guests move around during an icebreaker exercise to explore their backgrounds and shared interests. 

Hollmann concluded the icebreaker by saying, "As you can see, we all have had a lot of different paths. We have been to different places and aim for different goals. Right now, though, we are all at Rend Lake College and have each other. I am so glad you are all here."

The guests were then invited to enjoy the taco bar. 

Students enjoying the Taco bar at the out-of-district welcome event at Rend Lake College. 

"I am glad we can help these students make connections at Rend Lake College," said Sarah Draper, RLC's Student Success & Wellness Coordinator and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity committee person. "Ultimately, we want to extend a warm welcome to students, in the district and beyond, to make friends and meet community members."

"I am enjoying Rend Lake College," said Colby Guy. "I have been making friends on the baseball team and finding my way around campus well." Guy comes from Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and will play for the Warriors Baseball Team. 

"I am thankful to be able to attend Rend Lake College and play golf while doing so," said Marni Copeland of the United Kingdom. "These types of opportunities aren't available where I am from." 

"I have always wanted to be an Aesthetician," said Ana Manzano. "But, the opportunities were not available where I am from. I have been in the United States for six and a half years, and I love it. I love the beauty field, and I am glad to be able to study at Rend Lake College." Manzano moved to the United States from Colombia. 

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