East Meets West: South Asian Week on Campus

East Meets West: South Asian Week on Campus

Amandad McKeon

Over the week of November 5, Colgate’s South Asian Culture Club (SACC) brought South Asian Week to Colgate. The week sought to bring a variety of South Asian cultural facets to Colgate and clearly fulfilled this objective through a series of informative, interactive and entertaining events.

The themed week, which included five major events, began on Tuesday, November 6 with the showing of East is East, a film about the cultural conflicts and forces in a Pakistani-British family. The screening provided students with a comedic insight into the cultural difficulties of a family caught between two very different societies.

The week’s next event was a speech by Mr. Farukh Amil who is the Deputy Permanent Representative to the Pakistan Mission to the UN. Amil’s speech let student’s gain insight on the role and function of international politics in South Asia. Students were especially galvanized by the speech, which clearly spurred political passions.

On Thursday, November 8, Frank Dining Hall hosted a South Asian food night. The evening included food from different countries within the region and allowed students to sample a variety of delicious cuisine from all over South Asia. Frank food night was particularly successful in creating interest in SACC and South Asian Week because it reached such a large portion of the Colgate community and brought the purpose of the week to light.

The week also featured a cricket match between the Colgate Cricket Club and SUNY-IT (State Univeristy of New York- Institute of Technology).

The final event of South Asian Week, Bhangra Night, was wildly successful and drew in many students. The Creative Arts House hosted the event, which was co-sponsored by the Broad Street Community Council. While South Asian Week is only in its second year at Colgate, this is the fifth year that Colgate has enjoyed Bhangra Night. DJ Plan B, Colgate 2007 graduate Amir Bhakta, returned to Colgate to host the event that he began during his freshman year. Since its inception, the night has been incredibly popular among students of all class years.

Though Bhangra is a traditional type of dance and music from India, students flocked to the Creative Arts House, drawn in by the excitement of the music which resembles a combination of hip-hop and R & B. Clearly, Colgate students were receptive to and excited about the night; the event drew in new students as well as those who had the opportunity to enjoy Bhangra Night in the past.

South Asian Week clearly fulfilled its objective of raising awareness of South Asian culture and society. Through a spate of multi-faceted events hosted by SACC, the Colgate community was afforded the opportunity to embrace and learn about a host of different cultural aspects present in South Asian culture. Besides being taught about South Asian cultures, students could directly experience and participate in this culture through events like South Asian food night and Bhangra night. Senior Kristin Kwasnik, a member of SACC, aptly described the goals and objectives of the week.

“The goals of SACC arenumerous and overlapping, but I think the main idea that helps to constructa week such as this is the amalgamation of entertainment and education,” Kwasnik explained.

Overall, the large turnout at all the events demonstrates not only SACC’s success in promoting South Asian culture, but also Colgate’s interest in learning about and experiencing other cultures.