The Indian Students Association, a new registered student organization at SVSU, celebrated its first Holi Festival on Saturday, April 12. Holi is the Indian festival of colors to celebrate and welcome the spring season; the event drew an estimated 275 people, including students, faculty, staff, and many community members.
Established in fall 2013, the association began with just two members, but the organization gained additional followers when three Indian students began their studies at SVSU. Then, students from SVSU’s College of Business and Management traveled to India on a study abroad trip in January, and many of them became very interested in Indian culture and joined the club.
“We took advantage of their excitement,” said Nikhil Shah, association president and MBA student.
The idea behind the organization and the festival is to connect Indian students with American students and share cultural understanding between the two groups. Kaustav Misra, assistant professor of economics, serves as the association’s advisor. He is one of 14 Indian faculty at SVSU who are also now members of the association.
Accounting major Renee Kucher “fell in love with the culture and the people” in India during the study abroad trip. “Dr. Misra was very accommodating and when we came back he was very passionate,” she said.
MBA student Nadine Sleiman also traveled on the study abroad trip.
“If I hadn’t gone to India, I would have been even more encouraged to sign up for study abroad after attending the festival,” Sleiman said.
The Indian Students Association received support from a number of groups to stage the festival, including the Indian Association of East Central Michigan. SVSU departments that contributed include the President’s office, Enrollment Management, Diversity Programs, and Student Association.