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Shreya Varrier | Iowastatedaily Online | Chicago | Sept 19, 2022:: Hindu YUVA, a student-run organization on campus, recently attended a national summit in celebration of 15 years of Hindu activism and growth in North America.
Activities at the summit allowed members to learn how to strengthen campus-based activities and bring ideas back to Iowa State.
“There is no student organization at Iowa State University that focuses on Hinduism except for Hindu YUVA,” Dhruv Gamdha, a graduate student in the department of mechanical engineering, said. “The main aim for Hindu YUVA is to promote, protect, preserve and practice Hinduism on campus.”
Charaiveti: The Hindu YUVA National Summit took place from Sept. 9 through 11 in Chicago, gathering 208 Hindu student leaders from 64 universities.
The sessions that took place at the national summit covered a wide range of topics centering on the concept of YUVA, which stands for youth for unity, virtues and action.
Some discussions focused on issues that Hindu students might face within university spaces, such as the need for Hindu representation and growing Hinduphobia in certain spaces, according to a press release.
Other conversations focused on how students’ experiences and Hindu Dharma can play a positive role in creating change in society.
“We were able to learn from [other Hindu YUVA chapters’] experiences and were also able to seek guidance for the challenges that our chapter at Iowa State might be facing,” Jaydeep Rade, a graduate student in the department of electrical and computer engineering, said.
The summit allowed Hindu YUVA students from Iowa State to connect with other chapters and engage in conversations that allowed them to learn more about the diverse events hosted at other universities and how to promote and practice Hinduism on campus while providing community service.
Hindu YUVA at Iowa State hopes to increase its impact on Iowa State by organizing more events to reach out to students and express gratitude to the administration on campus.
Each year during “Universal Oneness Week,” Hindu YUVA reaches out to several university administrations to thank them for their services. These include the ISU President, ISU Police Department, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Ames Police and Ames Fire Department.
“We also plan to organize various events on the campus so as to reach out to students from various cultures and ethnicities,” Rade said.
On campus, the organization hosts events throughout the year, such as Ganesh Utsav, Universal Oneness Week, Durga Puja, Yogathan, Holi, Diwali and International Yoga Day.
“These events provide Hindu students at Iowa State University a platform to practice Hinduism on campus,” Gamdha said.
Hindu YUVA also has weekly meetings at the Hindu Student Center, Vivekananda House, at 103 Campus Avenue and is open to all.
The Hindu Student Center includes a Hindu “puja room,” a meditation room, a library on Hinduism, an open kitchen with vegetarian food and a living room.
The student center is open to everyone who wants to use it and practice Hinduism in their life.
“The infrastructure of Vivekananda house also helps us serve people in town by providing temporary accommodations,” Gamdha said. “The combination of Hindu Yuva with Vivekananda house is something very unique which we offer to the students of Iowa State University and the Ames community, at large”
Source: Iowa State Daily.
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