UMBC’s Hindu Student Council provides a place for spiritual growth on campus

imagesOnce a month, about thirty students gather in the Math and Physics building during free hour for the Hindu Student Council (HSC) meeting.
In the midst of their busy week, they find time to sit down with others and practice their religion. HSC allows these students to not only practice Hinduism together, but also to further educate themselves in Hinduism with the support of their staff and peers.
A typical meeting begins with a short prayer and then an activity relating to a holiday close to the meeting. Then they work to apply Hinduism to their daily life by having a group discussion about how Hinduism is apparent in their everyday activities.
After that, they take some time to plan out cumulative events or service trips that the general body would be interested in attending. Many of HSC’s events are enjoyed by the entire campus community, such as Raas n’ Dhol and Holi in the Quad.
Raas n’ Dhol is hosted every year around the Hindu holiday Navratri, where nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshipped over a period of nine days.
A special dance called Garba, which originated in the Indian state of Gujarat, is performed every night of Navratri, which is why HSC decided to host a Garba event here at UMBC.
“The first half of Raas n’ Dhol is mainly Garba, and the second half is Bhangra, which originated in the state of Punjab,” says Arti Daya, HSC freshman representative.
“Raas n’ Dhol attracts a large crowd of all ethnicities, and sells out almost every year,” says Daya, “we make sure to incorporate teaching lessons within the event so everyone can join in on the fun.”
Holi in the Quad is another HSC sponsored event that all of UMBC can enjoy. Holi, often referred to as the festival of colors, is celebrated by throwing paint at each other and celebrating the arrival of spring.

Many students are attracted to this event because of how much fun it looks, as it basically entails a huge paint throwing party on a beautiful spring day.
Aside from these events, HSC tries to volunteer at local temples and help out their community in any way they can.
This act fulfills seva, which is a selfless act offered to God. A lot of the funds they receive from the events they sponsor are donated to charities, such as the Malala fund.
“HSC is a place where students are learning about Hinduism together,” says Daya, “none of us know everything there is to know about Hinduism, so HSC provides an outlet for us all to share our knowledge and learn more from our peers.”

Source: The Retriever Weekly