Being an international student, it can be hard for students to meet likeminded individuals. For this reason,
the Indian Student Cultural Organization hosts Diya every year to welcome Indian students to the University of Toledo’s campus.
They have hosted the cultural event for the past seven years, which is open to the Toledo community.
Ruchira Mahashabde came to UT after receiving her pharmacy degree at Mumbai University in India. She is now the president of Indian Student Cultural Organization and has been for the past two years.
“There’s a lot of Indian population studying here and staying here,” Mahashabde said. “The Hindu temple in Toledo helps many Indians come together.”
The word ‘diya’ means lamp and is classified as the festival of lights. It is a five-day festival occurring between the month of October and November. Participants decorate their houses with small homemade lamps.
UT’s particular celebration of Diya included singing, dancing and fashion shows by UT students and the Indian community in Toledo. They also held a DJ party, an unofficial part of the Diya celebration for people to enjoy.
Typically, 500-600 people attend this event every year. While everyone is welcome to attend, the majority of individuals that attend are part of ISCO or the Indian population in Toledo.
ISCO was created 27 years ago and consists of 250-300 members and 10 panel members. It is open for
all students to join. The group has several other events throughout the year celebrating Indian culture.
One such event is their freshman party, which welcomes incoming Indian freshmen and helps them adjust into the new culture of living in the United States.
The organization also helps incoming Indian students with their airport pickups, apartment organization and important paperwork. They also pair up the individual with current ISCO members to help them adjust to Toledo by staying with someone that knows the area.
One of Mahashabde’s goals for the Indian student cultural organization is to include other organizations and collaborate with them. Trying to get other parts of the university involved with this organization is incredibly important to her.
“Helping incoming Indian students from across the globe adjust to college and be a part and welcomed,” said Mahashabde on what ISCO does.