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Virtual Diwali Celebration Reflections

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Hello everyone, I am Jinal Shah your Vice President Equity and Inclusion. The world is now going digital and we all have to adapt using technology more often because of COVID-19. Now, the teaching and learning is online to maintain the social distance and also for our students safety as well.

We have got wide range of students from different countries, each student has a dream to study abroad for an amazing student life experience. During this pandemic our University, International office, and Students’ Union are doing their best to make this happen.

What is Diwali?

Every year we celebrate Diwali the Festival of Light for our students with lot of diverse performances, activities and with Indian sweets and snacks. This time we celebrated virtually where there was more fun and engagement with our students - we had never celebrated it like this before.

‘Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The History of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it most likely began as an important harvest festival.’

Virtual Diwali event

Diwali was different this year, we started our preparations one week before so that we all can celebrate Diwali like we do in our home countries. The festival is celebrated over 5 days. 

On 13th November the BCUSU and International Office collaborated together to celebrate Diwali with our students. We started our event at 7pm on Microsoft Teams. Also, we invited our students’ parents to join this event to celebrate with BCU and their own family - this was our big surprise for our students.

The event was hosted by me and Amir Iqbal (Vice President Opportunities & Community). We began our event by welcoming everyone and thanking our BCUSU Marketing team, our buddies and Tim, Gurpal & Jaspreet as they delivered the sessions during International Orientation Week for all our new students.

We were honoured to have Richard Evans who is the CEO of BCUSU and Parmila Murria Head of International office to say few words on this occasion. We officially began our event by lighting Diyas (clay oil lamps).

We then had a small presentation by our Buddies in which they talked about history and origin of Diwali and how people celebrate Diwali. 

This was followed by a free style dance performance by our student Gulara Dilshat who is final year student in MA Event & Festival management. Even though it was virtual performance, everyone in the audience was cheering and enjoyed the performance.  

We knew it was difficult to have an energetic vibe, so our next activity was a Virtual Rangoli Competition. We asked our audience to open paint on their computer/laptop and those who were using phone we gave them link so they can make a Rangoli. A Rangoli is a pattern usually made from coloured rice, coloured sand, quartz powder or flower petals. We wanted our audience to engage with us and use their creativity to make a Rangoli.

After that we had Musical performance by Jaspreet who is studying his PhD and Arjun who is studying Business Management.

As we all were sitting in front of screen for long time so, we asked our audience to turn on their cameras and follow the steps to do a flash mob. This is a tradition from the International office, during International Orientation Week they do flash mob which is a bit of fun and we loved seeing everyone laughing and smiling.

We then had an amazing performance by Anuja Zodge MA Fashion Management student who is the member of Bollywood society. For the first time we saw a Lavani perfromance which is a popular music genre in Maharashtra, India known for its powerful rhythm.

After this, we had an amazing poem on how International Students’ feel during festive times and how much they miss their home country spoken by Paramjeet Singh who is studying Business Management. We also asked our students’ parents to say few words about how they found the event. 

Last but not least, was our last activity the Virtual Fashion show, where our Buddies judged the participants based on the traditional wear and situation based questions. We would like to thank everyone for joining the event, we got 5 stars from our event poll which reflects that it was successful.