Sunny Jeong, visiting professor of business administration, was presented with the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award by the Office of Volunteer Programs for her longstanding efforts with the international community of students on the ILLINOIS campus.
Jeong was presented with the award on April 13, at a ceremony held at the Illini Union. Jeong was the only faculty member on campus to receive the award.
Jeong’s efforts arose from her desire to help the international community after learning about several suicides by international students at ILLINOIS. “After learning of the suicides,” Jeong said, “I asked myself what I could have done to help.”
As a result of her interrogatory, she organized bi-weekly meetings with volunteers on campus to discuss possible ways to help reduce the stresses associated with international student relocation. Each year Illinois becomes the new home of a large international population.
“[Relocating] can be very difficult for someone from a strikingly different culture,” said Jeong. “Most people do not realize how lonely and overwhelming it can be.”
From their meetings the volunteers decided a reference book was the answer. Together, they produced a small format guide book that can be referenced by anyone.
The guide book is 200 pages long; detailing services and needs common among internationals from 120 countries. 20-30 countries are specifically represented in the book.
Volunteer editors also included information about the various countries represented on campus in an effort to promote the appreciation of cultural diversity.
The first edition of 5,000 copies was published in 2010 and was distributed widely to campus and local communities.
Jeong expressed her gratitude to the International Student and Scholar Services who helped publish the guide book.
“ISSS is a great partner to work with and I am thankful for everyone’s contribution. We accomplished something special.”