Raising Hindu Awareness at Oxford College

Oxford College of Emory University is a diverse community with various religious, cultural and, social clubs that make it a special and unique society in which growth, knowledge, and experience promote the efficient learning of both the students and faculty. An essential characteristic of the Oxford community is that the student body, as well as the faculty consists of diverse, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. No two students are alike and because of this “difference”, each and every person on campus has the opportunity to, in some way, experience the culture of others through events and discussion hosted by the various clubs around campus. One such event that shed some light upon the religious traditions of Hinduism was Hinduism Awareness Week.
The Hindu Student Association (HSA) hosted various events on the week of April 16th through the 20th. Each day of the week expressed a different aspect of Hindu culture and religion. On Monday, a Ganesha Puja was held in the Oxford Rathskellar Center where a Pujari from the Hindu Temple of Atlanta came to perform the various rituals and explain the essence and symbolism of various materials that were used, such as the different spices and plants used within the Puja. For Oxford students, this was a great opportunity to gain knowledge of the religious prayers that are often conducted by Hindus. From the perspective of a non-Hindu, I found this puja to be eye-opening and exciting because it gave me an opportunity to enlighten and broaden my views and perspectives of the Hindu religion.
Tuesday was the day of our Holi Show in which we offered Oxford College an opportunity to be introduced to the HSA Executive Board, information concerning the history and prevalence of Holi within different regions and contexts around the world, as well entertainment that highlighted the culture of the various regions within which Hinduism is prominent. This evening offered Oxford College a taste of the cultural heritage of the Indian subcontinent. On Friday we held a yoga session on the Quad, which was very interesting to experience, as it was a great opportunity to distress and experience a major meditation path that the Hindu religion emphasizes.
Throughout these events, we were fortunate to gain a lot of faculty and administrative support that enabled these programs to succeed. A particular faculty member that participated in many of the events was the Dean of Student Life, Joe Moon. He expressed his joy and happiness in participating in the events as well as his eagerness to indulge himself in our culture. Overall, this Hindu Awareness Week was a great success not only as a school event, but also a success in lighting the fire of Hinduism within the hearts of every individual at Oxford College.