In the midst of preparation for final exams, Maryville College’s organization of the year, the Global Citizenship Organization, sponsored an exciting celebration of the Hindu Holi Festival, also known as the “Festival of Colors.” Traditionally, Holi is a time that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, as well as the bursting colors of spring and the renewal of friendship.
“We wanted this event to be a time when students could go outside, relax, and have fun,” said senior neuroscience major Cláudia Brito Pires, the current president of the Global Citizenship Organization. “We also wanted the festival to not only benefit the student community, but also the international community, which is why we donated the proceeds to Knoxville’s Bridge Refugee Services.”
The Holi festivities took place on the lawn outside Pearson Dining Hall. Students could purchase a wristband for $2, which allowed them to get cups of pigmented powder. The event began with the initial throwing of the powder.
On the count of three, the air was filled with a vibrant explosion of color! After this initial throwing, students ran around in their white t-shirts, laughing and covering each other with the powder.
“It was a great moment to spend time with my friends and a fun way to spend a sunny day,” said Romina Lira Penaloza, a junior majoring in Education. “I really enjoyed it because it was something new for me. I like that the Global Citizenship Organization makes ways for internationals to connect with the college community.” The Holi Festival has been taking place on campus annually for many years.
“It’s our biggest event in the spring semester, and the turnout is always pretty successful,” said Pires. During the rest of the school year, the Global Citizenship Organization hosts events that encourage international students and local students to share cultural experiences.
Their staple event, World Coffee Cup, facilitates meetings every other Tuesday with coffee provided. This is a time when groups such as the Black Student Alliance, the Latino Student Alliance, and the Student Government Association can meet together and talk about world topics.
Katherine Zacapa, a junior double majoring in International Studies and International Business and the upcoming president of the Global Citizenship Organization, gave the opening remarks at the Holi Festival.
“It went really well,” she said. “Holi is something that is frequently associated with the international students, and we were afraid that not as many domestic students would come out due to the festival’s postponement.” Despite the organization’s worries, local and international students alike all came out to join the celebration.
“I hope to continue to encourage the integration of the international student community on campus as president of the Global Citizenship Organization,” said Pires. “The World Coffee Cup meetings have been successful this year, so that’s something we’ll definitely keep going. And, of course, Holi happens every
Maryville College has a rich, diverse population of students, and the Global Citizenship Organization excels at encouraging ties among all students on campus. When planning your activities for the upcoming fall semester, consider giving them a space in your schedule!