Festival offers taste of Indian culture

By Grace Ostuni
Staff Writer

Two Franciscan University professors hosted Indian Fest with food, décor and information on study abroad opportunities in the J.C. Williams Center on April 4.

Joseph Pathakamuri, a professor of microbiology, and Tiffany Boury, an associate professor of education and coordinator of global academic partnerships, wanted to host this event not only to celebrate Indian culture, but also to build interest in the possibility of study abroad opportunities in India for Franciscan University students.

Event attendees gathered in the Gentile Gallery to attend a Zoom call with academics in India who have been discussing a potential exchange opportunity with Franciscan.

In this proposed program, Franciscan students would attend a school in India while the school’s students would come attend Franciscan University. In this way, both cultures could have the experience of taking classes and making friends in a new place.

Boury highlighted the many opportunities for internships that are present in India, especially in the fields of engineering, medicine, and social work.

Before and after the Zoom call, refreshments were provided for event attendees. These included traditional foods and beverages such as vegetable bhaji, biryani, paratha, chicken masala and chai tea.

The lower level of the J.C. Williams Center was decorated with standing tables and festive posters. Additionally, there was Indian music playing through speakers.

The families of those who hosted the festival came wearing traditional Indian clothing.

The Rev. David Pivonka, TOR said of the proposed exchange program that he would “love to explore what India would look like for Franciscan.”

“If only I wasn’t in nursing. I would definitely do the study abroad program in India,” said Madeleine Byers, a sophomore nursing student.

The logistics of the proposed program are still being discussed. As of now, there is no estimated start date for this program.