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Indian Club recognized as new, inclusive student organization

November 16, 2016

A new student organization, Indian Club, is looking to bring students together through the celebration of cultures and help international students transition into campus life.

The idea to create Indian Club came about when several international students noticed that celebrations such as Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, were not being celebrated on campus. Because of this, students got together to create an organization that not only celebrates the different cultures in India, but celebrates the unity of all students and their cultures.

“Why don’t we take this opportunity to build up a platform and celebrate with our fellow teammates and students over here?” said Collins Poulose, president of Indian Club. “It’s going to be an exchange of culture and a good platform for us to get involved in the campus and get to know more people.”

Indian Club is planning on holding celebrations of different Indian festivals, including Diwali and Holi, and will also hold dance programs and a fashion show in order to educate others on Indian culture.

One of the missions of Indian Club is helping international students make a comfortable transition into campus life. An international student himself, Poulose said that he understands how homesick one can be when traveling to a new country and the struggles of finding one’s place on campus.

“Our university gives one of the best resources for international students than other universities,” said Poulose. “But in spite of that I believe if we have a group of students that are having a hard time, we should do everything we can to make them feel more comfortable.”

Poulose said that Indian Club is planning on working with the Office of International Education to help international students feel more at home.

International Student Services Coordinator Conan Kmiecik said international students may face many challenges while studying abroad, including getting used to Midwestern English, even though they are language proficient, and the different academic environment.

“But I think, for the most part, the international students are prepared to come here, that they want to come here, and when they do come here I think that River Falls is a pretty welcoming community and campus,” said Kmiecik.

With international students from India being the second largest group of exchange students on campus, Kmiecik said that it is important for them to have a presence on campus, as well as work to teach others about their culture.

“I think that the opportunities students have when they come to college or a university is to meet people from outside of their culture, to learn from people with different perspectives, and at the same time, find out the commonalities between different cultures,” said Kmiecik. “When [Poulose] first arrived and there was a large cohort of Indian students, I encouraged them to consider the possibility [of a club], simply because it would give them a presence in the student body, they could advocate for things that they need as a group, and also organize opportunities to educate the campus about Indian culture.”

Indian Club is open to everybody and currently has 15 members. Poulose said that all students, no matter where they are from or what their culture is, are encouraged to get involved.

“It’s welcome to everyone, despite the name,” said Poulose. “Let’s just work together and do things so we don’t have to be separate or keep anyone out. We want to work as a group, as a team, with no differences.”

The Indian Club is open for everybody and meets on Friday at 4 p.m. in the Apple River Room, room 333, on the third floor of the University Center.

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