The Indian Student Association kicked off Diversity Week in the Mountainlair with Tarang 2013, a celebration of Indian culture.
The event featured authentic Indian food from Mother India and performances of Indian dances.
Radhey Sharma, faculty adviser for the Indian Student Association, said he enjoyed seeing an abundance of diversity, including members of the Chinese Student Association.
“We’ve tried to bring students from different cultures together so that everybody can have a sense of feeling that is inclusive,” Sharma said. “The main theme here is to have (a) understanding of culture and (try) to bring people together.”
Sharma said he enjoys returning to India and sharing his experiences from West Virginia University with students there.
“This is one of the events that I take pictures and videos of, then show them to students in India,” he said. “The students get excited and want to come here.”
The event featured music and dancing that showcased the lifestyle of India. The performances represented each of the 26 states in India.
Praveen Majjigapu, president of the Indian Student Association and civil engineering student, said he felt proud to showcase his culture to the WVU community.
“When I was in India, I never had a chance to learn about all the student organizations and learning about their culture,” Majjigapu said. “This is the first time we’ve got this opportunity to celebrate an Indian student event in Diversity Week.”
The festival was open to the public and provided the community an opportunity to learn about the Indian culture.
Dushani Palliyaguru, graduate student at University of Pittsburgh, traveled to WVU to watch her sister perform.
“These types of events are very important, especially for students who are away from their homelands,” Palliyaguru said. “It really means a lot to have a platform where they can showcase their cultures and also share it with people who don’t know anything about them.”
Palliyaguru and her sister, who are originally from Sri Lanka, said they both enjoyed learning about the Indian culture and their traditions.
“I think that’s really the sense of having international students and having this exchange of cultures and knowledge,” Palliyaguru said. “Hopefully that will someday help us bridge the differences that we have among different countries, cultures and religions.”
Clay Wylie, a junior geography and sociology student, said he enjoys experiencing different cultures.
“I’m from Pocahontas County, so it’s a big culture shock,” Wylie said. “I get used to it, because I go to culture nights at the International house where we eat food from all over the world.”
Wylie said his favorite part of attending these events is trying all the food.
“The food is really good. It’s definitely exotic and spicy,” Wylie said.
Ana-Maria Stoyanova, a senior sports and exercise student from Bulgaria, said she felt inspired seeing different ethnic groups come together.
“It just goes to show that the United States is a huge melting pot, and it’s good to see that there is tolerance and people are willing to learn and tolerate other ethnicities and cultures,” Stoyanova said. “Just being here today has inspired me to work with the International Student Organization and learn more about different ethnicities.
“I’m very excited to see what the rest of the week has in store, because this is awesome.”
WVU Diversity Week will continue all week with numerous events featuring a variety of cultures and lifestyles.