To begin the new semester, many student organizations are hosting events welcoming students back to campus. Pitt State’s Indian Student Association (ISA) hosted their first event of the semester, a welcome party, Friday Jan. 29 at 4:30 p.m. at Gorilla Village.
“It’s been a tough time for all of us, so I decided to make everyone come to one place and they can have a fun time, (and) meet the new people,” said ISA president, Neeraj Duhan, graduate student in general administration and technology management. “It was kind of like a welcome party to the new students, that’s why we wanted everyone to join and they can play, dance, or eat their food.”
The welcome party included food and an introduction of the ISA executive board. Additionally, Mark Johnson, ISA advisor, gave a brief speech introducing the organization as well as the importance of having the association and sharing the Indian culture with Pitt State and the Pittsburg community.
The welcome party was not limited to ISA members but was open to all PSU students, an important step for cultural exchange, according to Duhan.
“For us, this has been our motto, to bring every culture on the stage,” Duhan said. “It’s not just about the Indians. We want to share our culture to the all countries, and we also want to get the culture from the other countries so I believe that we should bring a new thing to the association, and a new thing to the people.”
Chaiwei Lin, junior in art, is on exchange from Taiwan and heard about the event from a friend. Lin said she thought it was a good experience to learn about a different culture.
“…I can know better countries and because in Taiwan we don’t really have a lot of different countries, we only have Asians so it’s really important for us to get to know the difference between countries,” Lin said. “We can get to know each different culture and can get involved in the country.”
Pranay Kumar Reddy Akaram, graduate student in construction management and member of ISA, thought the event was a good opportunity to share a little bit of his culture with students from different countries.
“The event is really cool because it gets everyone apart from Indian Student Association… its good for everyone so we can share our culture, food..,” Akaram said. “It’s important… for knowing people in a better way and understanding their culture is a good way to get going, particularly in the university it’s really important for the students.”
Apart from sharing their culture with others, the event also gave new students the opportunity to network and receive support for questions they may have about the university.
“It’s pretty exciting meeting them, because they are new to the university… they have plenty of questions… they’ve asked some important questions and we’ve solved the issues,” Akaram said. “We’re also trying to get them connected on campus so it’s good to get to know them from these types of events.”
Duhan hoped the event brought together new and old students and was a way for students to have time to socialize despite busy schedules.
“…we’re too busy with our school stuff and a lot of students are new and are trying to find out how to engage with people so I think that was the best way to do it at one place so you can find friends and hang out whenever you want,” Duhan said.
Duhan believes it is important for international student associations to host events open to the public as a way to share their culture and give back to the community.
“Pitt state is, you can say, a cultural hub,” Duhan said. “…that’s what makes Pitt State unique because of all those international students and the Pittsburg community who loves international students. So I believe this is the right way to put your culture on the frontline and engage with community at the Pitt State, so it’s kind of giving back in whatever we are receiving, especially from the community this is how we can give it back by sharing our cultures and getting to know the people really closely.”
ISA plans to host another get-together event for members and, pending COVID-19 regulations, hopes to host an event for Holi.