For Sanjaya Balami, international pride for one’s flag isn’t just something that happens during the annual International Festival or the homecoming parade or on the commencement stage.
It is something that exists every day.
With that in mind, the former president of the International Student Association and past Student Government member started an effort at Minnesota State Mankato to proudly display international flags in the busiest building on campus – the Centennial Student Union.
Working with CSU Director Mark Constantine and Mike Eccles with the University’s sign shop, Balami led an effort to create a wall display of international flags on the main level of the CSU.
Balami, a native of Nepal seeking a career in international relations, sees the new display as a welcoming symbol of unity for the international student community.
“We are away from home and we consider this as our home,” Balami said. “So why not see our flags around. That makes us feel proud.”
He also sees the new display as an opportunity to engage and form a bridge with fellow students including domestic students.
“If I come and see some people looking around the flags and I say ‘Hey. that’s my country.’ ‘Oh, that flag. Let’s talk about it.’ We can engage or start a conversation,” Balami said.