‘Journée de la Francophonie’ returns to campus


Journée de la Francophonie was held for the second year in a row to celebrate the cultures of the French-speaking countries around the Screen shot 2014-11-23 at 9.06.55 PMworld.
The event, held on Nov. 17, included different activities, such as cultural games.
Senior Alicia Sornson said: “[There was] food, music, poetry and games from a variety of Francophone countries. It’s a chance to get out of the classroom and learn more about French-speaking culture.”
Though it was designed for students learning French, speaking French was not required.
Senior Amy Sowers said that local high school students in French classes were invited to participate in the Francophonie. High school students from Selinsgrove and Mifflinburg attended.
Associate Professor of French Lynn Palermo, who was in charge of the event, said: “My first teaching job was kindergarten through eighth grade. I left part of my heart there.”
She continued, “For high school students, some of these kids spend three or four years on a language, and very often they look at high school as sort of checking that off and don’t think very much about how they could take that forward into college.”
Though she oversaw the event, the students of the French 301 course ran it. According to Palermo, they put together the activities and communicated with the high school students in French.
Sowers said, “It gives us as college students a chance to interact with younger students in the community and practice our French with them.”
Sorson added, “The high schoolers are always fun and excited to be at SU.”
Palermo noted that in the past, the students wrote and produced a play in French that they performed for the high schools, but they wanted a more active way to involve the students this year.
Sornson said: “The games and music are in French, so you get to practice your French a little and challenge your vocabulary. Also, I think popular culture is great way to better understand a language and it’s speakers.”
Francophonie also included slam poetry, or “Slam Poésie,” for which students performed a poem. According to Assistant Professor of French Sandrine Simeon, reciting the poem had to be performed in some way that differed from the norm.
She said: “If it seemed appropriate, a poem could be performed in the form of a cheer, or as a rap. The sky’s the limit.”
One of the games required students to identify the singer, genre and title of a French song while viewing the music video. Another similar game had students identify celebrities. There was also a speed dating game that involved information cards about famous people.
The art station had portraits by French artists and supplies for students to make their own. The architecture station had photographs of monuments and edifices and supplied pipe cleaners for students to create their own.
According to Simeon, the French club provided crepes for participating students. Students could also snack on cheese in an activity that asked them to name the region the cheese came from.
Another activity included pictures of cuisine from different countries and asked students to list the ingredients in the dish.
Sornson said “It’s important because understanding a language doesn’t stop with learning verbs and vocabulary. The people, culture and context of the language are just as important to understand and master.”