First Holi celebration on campus

BAMS and MSS throw a Holi celebration

Ella Freeman

More stories from Ella Freeman

Across the Pond
April 28, 2024

Photo by Ella Freeman

A group photo of the attendees after the event wrapped up.

On Wednesday, Mar. 8 from 4:45p.m -6:00p.m the Business Association of Multicultural Students (BAMS) collaborated with the Multicultural Student Services (MSS) to host a Holi celebration. 

Priyanka, a first year computer science major, said she was so excited to see this event happening on campus. 

“I am from India and I really miss my friends and was like wow, these people are celebrating Holi?” Priyanka said. 

According to Britannica, Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates light’s triumph over darkness. The holiday is celebrated with a festival of colors, where the streets are flooded with people throwing colors. 

“Holi is a two-day holiday. The first day is when we worship God, and the second day is when we play with colors during the festival of colors,” Priyanka said. 

According to Priyanka, Holi is a big event, especially in India, so it was really cool to see UW-Eau Claire celebrating it. 

Catherine Emmanuelle, the director of the Center for Racial and Restorative Justice, on campus said she was invited by Priyanka to the event and was excited to see the joy on her face when she saw Holi was being celebrated. 

Emanuelle said that events like this, where people from all cultures can come together and learn about one specific tradition or event are so important to our community. 

“I am convinced that when we can come together to celebrate and build a community we will start to find more solutions for restoration and justice in our world,” Emanuelle said.

One thing Emanuelle is taking away from the event is the common themes of humanity, parents, and kids and the joy of being messy. She says these are things that are true for Holi, but that is also true for most people around the world. 

“One of the things I think is very important is we have spaces to come together to build community and learn about one another,” Emanuelle said. 

Sahana Suresh, a fourth year Human Resources management student and president of BAMS, organized this event. 

According to Suresh, the South Asian representation on campus isn’t as good as it could be, and this Holi celebration is a step in the right direction. 

“I think it is really important to have South Asian representation on this campus just because it’s not there as much,” Suresh said, “I think these small steps we are taking will really build knowledge for students, to really grow and make these events happen on their own.” 

Suresh was very excited about the turnout for the event and hopes to see it grow even more in the future. While this is only the second event they have thrown, the first being a Diwali celebration, Suresh plans for her organization to do this every year. 

“My goals going in were getting the authentic food and just bringing people in, and having that collaboration with MSS that I have been wanting for my organization,” Suresh said. 

Suresh encourages students to stay curious when it comes to other people’s cultures. She says it’s always better to ask questions than to assume because it leads to a healthier community. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected].