FLRP celebrates 30 years

By Talesha Herbert

Members of NIU’s Foreign Language Residence Program traveled near and far this weekend to celebrate 30 years of success.

The anniversary celebration was held Friday through Sunday, and is held every five years at NIU.

“I feel honored to be a part of that great tradition,” said Gregory Ross, FLRP assistant coordinator and NIU French instructor.

The weekend included an opening banquet, a social and a dinner cruise on the Rock River aboard the Pride of the Oregon, an authentic paddle-wheel boat.

Raymond Tourville, chairman of Foreign Languages and Literatures, founded FLRP in 1972.

“We needed an atmosphere where students could come every night to practice their language in a non-threatening way without grades involved,” he said.

Tourville said the 30-year anniversary was a way to bring people together who once lived in the FLRP’s family atmosphere.

Similarly, Ross said foreign languages are key to bridging cultures.

“We can’t be isolationists,” Ross said. “We need allies from different cultures. Learning about cultures can only strengthen us as a nation and bring us closer as a world community.”

FLRP member Israel Ugalde, a senior business administration major and German minor, enjoyed meeting former participants in the opening banquet.

“I like meeting new people from different cultures such as Japan, France, Germany and Russia,” Ugalde said.

Darya Buneyeva, a junior marketing major and exchange student from Russia, also participated in the banquet. Buneyeva is one of six native speakers who helps students learn the Russian language in the International House. The International House is the combination of the two floors housing FLRP students in Douglas Hall.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for all students who want to study foreign language,” she said.

The FLRP was created so students could practice their languages outside of class. It began in 1972 at a house across from the Newman Center, 512 Normal Road, and moved two years later to the second and third floors of Douglas Hall’s B-Wing.