POCATELLO, Idaho - The sounds of drums and laughter filled the Stephens Performing Arts Center Saturday night as the tenth annual Africa Night drew-in almost 800 members from around the community, more than ever before.
International student from Ghana Kizito Kyeremateng also serves as the President of the New Students Association. He said this year's even is so big, they needed to find a new venue, since they have traditionally held Africa Night at the ISU Pond Student Union building ballroom.
"We found out we couldn't fit everybody in there anymore," Kyeremateng laughed. "So that's why we moved it here, and it just seems to get bigger every year."
But it's not just the attendance that's growing. Kyeremateng said the number of international students has been on the rise as well, with Africa Night representing more than 25 African countries.
"This is like Little Africa, here. Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco," he continued.
However, the rising tuition has slowed that down. Kyeremateng said he has been working with the International Programs Office on campus to see if they can offer more scholarships to attract more international students.
He said it first has to start with students from other countries knowing about ISU in the first place.
"I came here because Idaho State is very cheap compared to all the other schools I looked at. So, over the years tuition has been going up and I think that's part of the problem," he said.
Director of the International Programs Office Maria Fletcher said although the tuition is rising, the cost of coming to ISU is still more affordable than other universities in the state. In fact, she said ISU has pulled international students from the University of Idaho, BYU-Idaho, and Boise State University, making ISU the leading school in the state for the international student population.
"So right now at Idaho State University, we have the largest group of international students in the state," Fletcher said.
She added, this number isn't likely to slow down over time.
"I see it growing and I see us having more of these events and more of us working with the community and bringing the community in," she said.
Fletcher reports in 2007 the university had 352 international students enrolled. Now, the school has 1,096 international students currently enrolled, representing more than 62 countries from across the world.