Yesterday,Â the Office of International Education and the Memorial Union Board partnered up to bring a taste ofÂ Indian culture toÂ the University of Rhode Island.Â The Big Event: An Indian Block Party took place from 11Â a.m. to 3Â p.m.Â atÂ the Memorial Union.
Now in its fourth year, this annual event aims toÂ featureÂ the culture and language of different international regions.Â
“Every year we try to highlight a new culture,”Â Colleen Grinham, a graduate assistant in the Office of International EducationÂ and coordinator of this year’sÂ TheÂ Big EventÂ said. “Somewhere that is culturally relevant, maybe somewhere that we really want people to study abroad or places that are popular.”
TheÂ event featured variousÂ activities, including free hennaÂ and free yoga sessionsÂ led byÂ a representativeÂ from URI Health and Wellness.Â Traditional and contemporary Indian performances took place, including traditional Indian dance and story telling through dance.
There was aÂ Sand Rangoli art station, whichÂ involvesÂ using colored rice and flower petals to create a design on the ground. VendorsÂ were also at the event,Â selling goodsÂ such as tapestries and jewelry. And what would an event be without free food?Â TraditionalÂ Indian dishes,Â such as vegetable korma, rice, raita and samosas were featured at The Big Event.
Study abroad booths were set up, providing general information on studying abroad as well as information on financing.Â An Indian representative fromÂ The American Institute for Foreign StudyÂ wasÂ alsoÂ present at the event. According to Grinham, many URI students study abroad in India through this program.
The Big Event started in 2011, withÂ the Big Event Ireland. It was notÂ until last year that The Big Event partneredÂ with the Memorial Union Board’s annual Block Party.
“We decided to join forces because our events were going on at the same time,”Â GrinhamÂ said. “Historically this was an indoor event [but]Â as the weather got nicer we decided to join funding and join events with the Block Party.”
Â Who knows what next year’s Big Event willÂ hold,Â The Office of International Education is open to suggestions ofÂ cultures to celebrateÂ next spring.Â AnyoneÂ interested inÂ givingÂ inputÂ can contact them by e-mail atÂ .