The Association for the Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent (ADITI) is celebrating its 30th year on campus this year.
In 1985, it was founded with the purpose of “promo[ting]and express[ing] the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Indian Subcontinent and South Asia.”
Over the years, the club has produced, sponsored and participated in various artistic, academic and social events. However, what makes the club so special is the enthusiasm and hard work of its members.
Sophomore James Tobias said that he joined ADITI this past September “just for something to do,” but “[he] quickly saw how great it is and how awesome all its members are…then [he] was hooked.”
Junior and current ADITI Vice President Akanksha Varma said it was the need to stay connected and spread the culture she was so proud of.
“I am an international student from Mumbai, and I love my culture. ADITI was, and still is, my outlet for expressing that culture on campus and spreading awareness about it,” she said.
The similar passion to stay connected with one’s culture after coming to a foreign land could be seen in several others of its members as well.
“I joined ADITI to buttress and expand the social awareness for my South Asian community,” sophomore Vitraag Mehta said.
“Considering myself to be patriotic and determined of my community, ADITI facilitated me to reconnect with my community in a faraway distant land. I believe that in a foreign nation, it’s your duty and privilege to represent yourself as a brand ambassador of your nation that your roots come from, and I take pride in representing my nation through a wonderful avenue such as ADITI,” he adds.
ADITI provided a way to channel the homesickness of these international students in a positive direction.
With numerous events to plan each year, the club depends heavily on the cooperation and coordination of its members.”
With an executive board of ten members, five to seven active junior executive board members and 150 general members, what makes the club unique from other organizations on campus is the amount of teamwork it displays.
Tobias correctly sums up the closeness of the club by recognizing “the intimate sense of community among it’s members.”
The sense of bonding and family is something that is thriving in the club because of its members. “We are a very close-knit group,” sophomore and ADITI technical director Yashika Patil said.
Sophomore and co-cultural chair Parakh Patel adds, “I would call the executive board my second family. We hang out and have a lot of bonding events such as going to eat Indian food together, watching movies together.”
For Harleen Girgla, a senior who joined ADITI as a freshman and is currently serving as the president of the club, some of her favorite experiences have been “during the clean-ups for our events with our members.”
“[W]e always play some Bollywood music, get together and clean together—it actually ends up being a lot of fun and we even dance!” she added.
ADITI’s two major events— South Asian Expo in the fall and Mela in the spring—keeßßp its members occupied throughout the year along with sponsoring and co-sponsoring many other events with organizations on campus.
“For Mela and every other event that we have had this year, this executive board has breathed and lived ADITI,” sophomore and co-cultural chair Trisha Arora said. “I joke all the time that I have failed numerous exams just because of all the work I have put in,” she adds.
Arora sincerely believes that joining ADITI’s E-board has been “one of the best decisions” she has made since coming to UR.
Apart from these two major events, ADITI is also renowned for organizing a formal dinner every spring with fun themes such as “Bollywood Bash” and “Royal Rath.”
They perform “Garba,” a popular Indian dance, with Raas, a South-Asian dance group on campus, to celebrate Navratri, a well known Indian festival.
“Be The Change Day” is ADITI’s annual community service event, which was organized with Delta Phi Omega and Sigma Beta Rho.
Apart from these events, ADITI co-sponsored a public debate with UR Debate Union last November titled, “Should Arranged Marriages Be Banned in South Asia,” which proved to be extremely successful.
With fundraisers for a 2013 Bangladeshi factory collapse and floods in Kashmir in 2014, senior and co-publicity chair Lydia Berman, who joined the organization in her freshmen year and has served on the ADITI executive board for the past three years, feels that “[it’s] great when ADITI [comes] together with students and other campus organizations to plan fundraisers.”
“[T]hese unique fundraisers have allowed us to expand and enrich our cultural programming as well as [to] strengthen our relationship on campus and in the Rochester community,” she said.
According to Tobias, his favorite memory in the club was “tunnel painting for [the South Asian] Expo at 2:00 in the morning”.
Senior Ashok Kamani, the business manager, said his “favorite event was the South Asian Expo because this entails so many different performances in a very amiable environment, and it is very similar.”
Still celebrating their latest success, “Mela 2015,” which was held on March 21 in Upper Strong, Mehta said that “singing and emceeing my way through Mela, I couldn’t have asked for a more fun-loving experience this entire semester.” Berman admits that “planning Mela this year was exciting, but also very nerve-wracking.”
But, then again, according to Girgla, “working with people who are dedicated and passionate about South Asian culture makes it all worth it.”
Moving forward, Varma adds that “the hope for the club is to be able to continue the great momentum and energy we had so far.”
Poddar is a member of the Class of 2018.