Diwali Night showcases different cultures at Marquette

Late Night Marquette and the Indian Student Association partnered up last Friday to put on Diwali Night as a part of the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists all over the world.

Keenna Shah, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and vice president of ISA, said that Diwali is a time to shine light into lives, start fresh and get rid of evil.

“Fresh, delicious food is made, we all pray together and just have a good time,” Shah said.

The Alumni Memorial Union event included activities such as a buffet serving classic Indian foods like samosas and tandoori chicken, a henna tattoo station, a live DJ, photo booth and performances from ISA’s Bollywood Fusion Dance and Marquette Mazaa, a competitive Bollywood dance team.

Priya Patel, dance captain of Marquette Mazaa and a senior in the College of Health Sciences, said that leading Mazaa has been an amazing experience. 

“Each member is talented, unique and it has been a privilege to serve them as a leader,” Priya said. “We all balance each other and are always there when the going gets tough.”

Arsh Salwan, ISA president and senior in the College of Business Administration, said lots of planning went into Diwali Night.

“We reached out to Late Night Marquette in June, we saw how they run events and the resources they have,” Salwan said. “Without them, none of this would have been possible.”

“ISA and Late Night would love to partner with each other in the future,” said Kaytriauna Farr, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and program assistant for Late Night Marquette. “Everyone who participated from AMU staff to attendees contributed to the success of the night.”

Salwan said serving as ISA’s president has been a positive experience.

“The best part is being in the room with my executive board and giving them a voice,” Salwan said. “The most impressive thing was seeing them step out of their roles and take up additional tasks.”

Priya said she was impressed by the success of Diwali Night.

“Over 350 people from all ages and diverse backgrounds came out on a Friday night to learn more about Diwali,” Priya said.

Ashvini Patel, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and secretary of ISA, said that she feels fortunate to be able to be a voice for Diwali at a Catholic university.

“I want to be able to reach out to people and let them know that there are many events that take place related to ISA,” Ashvini said.

Eren Joyce, a freshman in the College of Communication, said she’s eager to be able to experience different cultures at Marquette.

“This allows students to broaden their world perspectives and encourages them to become more engaged with people of different backgrounds,” Joyce said.

Priya said that it’s refreshing to see her culture represented on a broader scale.

“It means we are taking steps to become a more diverse, inclusive environment where each individual can feel safe and comfortable being their authentic selves,” Priya said.

Shah said that she hopes that people who came to Diwali Night remember that they were a part of a big celebration.

“Our goal was to reach out to students who aren’t as aware of the holiday and are from different backgrounds,” Shah said.