Michigan State University's WE ARE SAATH and University Activities Board lit up the Union with a Diwali celebration last evening.
SAATH, a student organization focused on combating mental health stigmas experienced in the South Asian community, partnered with the UAB to foster an environment where South Asian students and other communities could come together and celebrate the "festival of lights."
Diwali is a holiday that holds various meanings for different groups of people. However, no matter the interpretation, it symbolizes the overarching message of good triumphing over evil.
And in the Huron Room of the MSU Union— as craft materials were set up, warm food was served and lively music filled the space— good took the form of students spreading joy with each other.
President of WE ARE SAATH MSU and nursing senior Umme Hoque said putting on the event is a way to acknowledge members of the community and make them feel seen.
"We are a South Asian mental awareness club— that means that we would like to acknowledge the culture of the people in the group and in the club organization," Hoque said. "Diwali is a celebration that's celebrated by many South Asian individuals, and by celebrating it as an organization, we're acknowledging that part of that culture and that special event in these individuals' lives."
Hoque, who is Muslim, said people don't have to celebrate Diwali themselves to take part in the event. She came to the festivities to acknowledge and celebrate with her friends.
Genetics Ph.D. sophomore Aishwarya Bhurke said seeing the event's flyers around campus made her feel overjoyed.
"I was really happy, especially when the flyers said that it's art and crafts," Bhurke said. "That's amazing because that's what Diwali is about. Like I remember from my childhood painting, making lanterns — we had small diyas made out of clay where we light lamps in it."
WE ARE SAATH Treasurer and human biology senior Sruti Mathi said she hopes attendees took the opportunity to relax and have a good time.
"I know it's really hard to fit in celebrations when you're stressed about classes, extracurriculars or work," Mathi said. "I hope that they get a time just to like forget about everything and enjoy themselves; hang out with friends and eat good food of course."
Bhurke said the Diwali celebration made her feel more connected to her heritage.