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Nepal Night gives cultural insight

The annual Nepal Night, hosted by the Nepalese Student Association (NSA) presented students last Saturday night with food and entertainment from Nepal.

Nepal Night 2011 is begun with a Hindu ritual dance.

“For 16 years the NSA has provided up to 250 Nepalese students a platform to communicate with each other and the University,” Isha Subedi, one of the MCs for the night, explained to the audience.

Nepalese students are the largest international group on campus.

Aside from Nepal Night, the NSA organizes other events for SCSU and the community.  They have graduation parties for Nepalese graduates at the end of every semester, trips to a Hindu temple in Maple Grove for Nepalese students, an intramural soccer team, and the NSA picks up litter after homecoming during the annual “Husky Clean-Up”.

Abishek Dhungel, President of the NSA and the 2011 recipient of the Excellence in Leadership award, coordinated much of the Association’s efforts for Nepal Night.

“Getting together and getting a lot of students assigned work was the main challenge,” Dhungel explained.  The NSA has about 350 active members.

Dhungel was confident in the authenticity of the food and entertainment.  “Whatever food we eat in Nepal, that’s what we will have in Nepal Night; whatever kind of dance we have in Nepal, (that’s what) we’ll have in Nepal Night; and whatever kind of music we listen to in Nepal, that’s what we’ll have in Nepal Night,” he said.

Dhungel says he wants at least 100 or 200 people more aware of Nepalese culture after Nepal Night.

The theme of the night was “Nimantrana”, which in Sanskrit means “a special invitation”.  The night started with a dance in salutation to the Hindu gods.

Slideshows allowed audiences to visualize Nepal’s mountainous geography.  Nepal contains 8 of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including the highest, Mt. Everest.

Participants in Nepal Night 2011 enjoy authentic Nepalese cuisine.

A number of short documentary films helped the audience get a feel for the diversity within Nepal.  There are currently 92 spoken languages and 60 ethnicities within Nepal.

Later, a presentation about human trafficking in Nepal enlightened the audience about the 12,000 women trafficked out of Nepal every year.

The night was richened by the large number of alumni in attendance, to whom the MCs recognized for their support.

Ann Radwn, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and International Studies, made the unexpected and exciting announcement during her speech at Nepal Night that SCSU will be able to offer a study abroad program in Kathmandu, Nepal starting next year for SCSU students, allowing not only for Nepalese students to come to SCSU, but for SCSU students to go to Nepal.

The entertainment concluded with a Nepalese poetry contest called “Dohori”, where men and women would compete with each other in the recital of poetry, and in which dances would often break out among the poets.

After the entertainment, people were served food from Nepal.  On the menu was pulau (a combination of rice and peas), chicken curry, aulu cauli (a potato and cauliflower dish), kidney beans, pickled tomatoes, and rice pudding.

The first Nepal Night was held in the Brick Yard in the basement of Atwood Memorial Center, and since then it has grown enormously.  The annual Nepal Night will no doubt be held again next Spring.

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