Nitya Mittal, a biotechnology major, and Gurveen Karr, a biology pre-med major, are freshmen who are already making an impact on the Indian community at Kent State.
These two women are both members of the Kent Indian Association. Mittal is the president, and Karr is the vice president.
“I recently became president of the Kent Indian Association. One of my main roles as president is to make sure we host events,” Mittal said.
“My personal target this year is to host six events and I am trying to keep it open. When I go to a lot of African, Islamic, Israeli and stuff like that, I see my association has not done a lot in the past. This is why I am trying to do more events this year and keep it open to everyone,” Mittal said.
“There are so many international students who miss home, and I can relate to them. It is hard to be away from home and it is hard to adjust to different things here. So, if there is an association that can represent them, that can have their festivals, meet others, speak in their own language, share their own culture, that is something that keeps students going,” Karr said.
Karr believes “everyone has their identity” in the Indian community.
“India is so much more than people know about us,” she said.
“It’s diverse. It gives me room to breathe and be whoever I want,” Mittal said.
“I come from a very open-minded family. So my family is a mixture of a few different cultures in India. My dad is from the northern part of India and my mom is from the southern part of India,” Mittal said. “My brother recently got married to a lady from the Western coast of India.”
It is usually a taboo to have a family from so many different parts of India, Mittal said. However, “India is in a place where they are progressing slowly. It is mostly opening up."
The Res Airways event in Verder Hall on March 5 focused on the culture of India, specifically the importance of Indian cuisine.
“Food is equal to happiness. We give a lot of importance to food because we are a country of agricultural. We grow food,” Mittal said.
Pulav, a rice dish with carrots, peas and other vegetables, and a pancake-like desert, malpua, was served at the event.
“In the southern part of India, they rather use tomatoes with pickles (in pulav),” Mittal said. “In the northern part, they make it with lentils.”
“Every state has their own version of the food. The way my mother cooks food is different than the way someone else cooks. Everybody has their own versions and that’s how people show love and caring. They make their food with so much love,” Karr said.
Res Airways allows students to present their culture at different dormitories on Kent’s campus. The program brings the conversation of cultural awareness to people’s homes.
Katia Rodriguez covers international students. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.