A new student organization, the Indian Student Association, hopes to connect Indian students across campus and bring more Indian culture to USD. The organization is still in its beginning stages but has high hopes for the future.
In recent years, USD has seen an increase in international students, especially from India. One group of students set out to create an environment where Indian students can feel at home due to the lack of organizations for their culture.
“We are thousands of miles away from home, so we can make sure that no one is homesick. We are hoping to celebrate some festivals to keep the students connected to their home country,” advisor of the Indian Student Association Kruttika Sutrave said. “To let international students and any student know about Indian culture.”
The group also hopes to serve as a resource for incoming students from India. Many of these students are unable to visit Vermillion prior to moving and they arrive with many challenges such as finding an apartment or knowing what the weather can be like.
“(We hope) to ensure that… whatever difficulties (new and incoming students) are facing, we have faced and make sure that they don’t face the same difficulties. We are here to help them find a place and get to know the city,” Sutrave said.
Before the club existed, many Indian students formed informal communities with each other. Members of the club hope to reach more students by creating an official organization.
“(Now) we usually go to our friend’s house, but officially we want to get more people to gather on campus for Indians to celebrate weekly events, like a potluck or a social gathering, for the people and to help communication between people … We just want to create weekly gatherings and big events,” Dheeraj Avadhutha, a member of the executive board, said.
Once the foundation of the club is laid, the group hopes to expand its events. In addition to weekly potlucks, the group would also like to bring some traditional Indian festivals to campus such as Diwali and Ganesh Charturthi.
“(Diwali is) one of the biggest festivals in India, celebrated throughout the country. It’s our Festival of Lights,” Sutrave said. “Originally in India, it’s lighting candles, then fireworks and worshiping the goddess Lakshmi.”
While the club is still in the process of planning events and applying for budgeting, students can reach out to become involved. More information can be found on their Instagram page, @isassociationusd, or through the USD Involved website.