Construction is underway next to the International House on central campus for NAU’s International Pavilion, a facility expected to further strengthen the university’s strategic goal of global engagement.

Denver Saucier at the International Pavilion site

Denver Saucier at the International Pavilion site

A few years ago, the International House began inside the Calderon Learning Community and demand for the 120 available beds was lackluster, said Dylan Rust, Center for International Education director. Now there is a waiting list for the 200 spots at the International House, in part because people are interested in a diverse learning community.

“Our world is becoming more interactive internationally so it is more important for students to be able to communicate with people from different cultures and countries and to have that as a competency,” said Rust, who works to pair international students with the growing number of U.S. students choosing to live in the International House.

Chemistry major Denver Saucier said his perspectives have changed since moving into the International House in August. “My roommate last semester was from Brazil, and I learned a lot about that country. Now, I have a new roommate from Saudi Arabia and we are working out the logistics of the culture differences,” said Saucier, a junior from southern California.

That outside-the-classroom experience, expected to be enhanced by the International Pavilion, is part of what motivates Rust. “We can promote greater understanding between cultures in a world where we see a great amount of conflict but also a great number of people coming together across great divides,” Rust said.

Scheduled for completion in June, the approximately 9,500-square-foot International Pavilion will have an auditorium, meeting rooms and other spaces for use by the university community. Adjacent to the new construction, renovations are scheduled to begin in May for the International House.

Each year since 2007, NAU’s international population has grown, with 1,246 students from 70 countries enrolled this past fall.