One of my favorite parts about UT’s campus culture is its diversity. On any given day one can experience diversity in the classroom, but more importantly outside the classroom by delving into the world of student life.
With over 1,000 registered student organizations there is literally something for everyone (if not, I invite you to go make it happen). From service, to spirit, to recreational, legislative, culinary (yes, I know!) you name it; the diversity of student life is incredible. The passion that students have for their respective organizations is truly inspiring. Student’s devote long hours (sometimes almost as if they had part-time or even full time jobs) to ensure that their organizations function, and many carefully carry out different programming and events throughout the semester. Though most organizations have different functions and purposes, every now and then organizations come together as a uniting force for something bigger than their own mission statements, something bigger than themselves.
A few weeks ago, I wholeheartedly experienced one such phenomenon when I attended “Jhalak”. Jhalak is one of the signature events of the Indian Cultural Association, an organization aimed to represent Indian students on campus through various activities. One of the main purposes of this event is to “unite people, revive cultural values, and educate the masses about the existence of Indian culture.” The theme of the event was “India today,” which presented contemporary life in India. Through various performances, the audience was not only able to appreciate the passion of talented students, but also learn about a culture that they may not claim as their own.
For me, it was truly an amazing experience. The event took place at Hogg Auditorium and as I rushed to get to the place just in time before my friend’s dance team, Nach Baliye, performed I of course struggled to find parking. We finally parked (only to be welcomed back to the car by a $50 citation, thanks PTS) and rushed to Hogg and of course there was a long line of people waiting to get in (maximum capacity reached). As we anxiously waited for people to leave so that we could catch a glimpse of the performance, we were amazed at the great turn out. I realized that despite the different purposes of each performing team and even school rivalries (as some students were from A&M), they were there for one unifying mission to educate and celebrate culture. That is exactly what it all comes down to in terms of student life at UT. From every organization that I have ever been a part of there is always some sort of stress or worry that makes student leaders want to stop their work. However, there are always the rewards such as having an auditorium reach maximum capacity that lets us know how much the work truly matters. Congratulations to all the students who made Jhalak possible (special kudos to my friend’s dance team, I know how hard she works for it). I had a great first time experience, thank you for the reminder of one of the things that I love about UT, our cultural richness.