Walking into Olmsted Center this Saturday, don’t be frightened by bright lights and loud noises.
This Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Parents Hall, the South Asian Student Association and Malaysian Students Association will be hosting Drake University’s first Diwali night.
Joshan Sharmugam, president of the Malaysian Students Association is working in conjunction with members of the South Asian Student Association to preserve and show their culture to the rest of campus.
“Diwali night is a festival that Indians celebrate,” Sharmugam explained. “It’s also known as the festival of lights.”
Lamps will be spread over the tables and members of the organizations will enter with lights to celebrate the festival.
“We’re not only trying to find the cultural gap that explains us, but we’re trying to share that with the rest of campus,” said Peter Peter, vice president of the South Asian Student Association.
Royce Cyriac serves as the president of the South Asian Student Association. He started planning this event after seeing successful events on the University of Iowa’s campus last year.
“It’s a big part of Indian culture,” Cyriac said. “We talked to some teachers who are Indian and they’re really happy that we’re putting this on here.”
Those in charge of the event are trying to create a genuine cultural experience for Drake students.
There will be two Dandiya Raas teams performing traditional Indian folk dances. One team is coming in from Iowa State University and the other team is new to Drake and will be performing its debut on Saturday night.
There will also be a fusion team, “mixing Western music with Bollywood,” Cyriac explained.
The DJ will come to the stage at 10:30 p.m. and be, “dropping the hottest Bollywood beats,” Cyriac said.
Besides food, fun and dance, planners of the event are excited to celebrate such an important festival with their friends at Drake.
“A lot of the students here want to stick to what they’re used to,” Peter said. “We’re trying to open campus, not make it so divided and closed. We’re trying to make it fun.”
The festival will be taking place at Drake at the same time it does in India.
“Knowing that, it’s just reiterating the fact that we share the same culture,” Cyriac said. “It’s good to know that there’s someone like us on the other side of the world, doing the exact same thing.”
Most rewarding for students is that the funds raised from the program will go to help underprivileged students in India.
“We’re raising the money for Shanti Bhavan, a school in India where kids in poverty are given an education, a place to stay and clothes,” Peter said.
Last year the South Asian Student Association raised $1000 in another program raising money for the school.
“It’s crazy because $1,000 makes a big difference there,” Peter explained. “One dollar is 44 rupees.”
Tickets are on sale this week in Olmsted during lunch hours for $3 and at the door Saturday night for $5.