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Monday, March 8, 2021

Uniting Indian students

Starting this edition, we will feature Uni student societies, what they do, their history and their future. We’re kicking things off with Ekansh Sydney University Indian Cultural Society. As told to SAHIBNOOR SINGH

Reading Time: 4 minutesWhy the name Ekansh?
The founders wanted a name that demonstrated the ability to come together as one. So Ekansh best represents what we want the society to be about: unity. It’s a way for students transitioning from high school to Uni, or international students, to have a home away from home.
When was your organisation formed?
We’re not sure when exactly our organisation was formed. However, it initially had a different name, and the name was changed to Ekansh in 2010.

Ekansh.Indian Link
The Ekansh team

What is the motto of your organisation?
Our motto is the meaning of our name: one union, or unity. The one thing we really try to push in all our events and all our marketing is that Ekansh isn’t just for Indian people, it’s for everyone of Indian descent or anyone interested in Indian culture.
What does your calendar of events usually look like?
Last week was our meet-and-greet, which is always at the beginning semester one and two every year. It’s a way for everyone to meet each other over free pizza and soft drinks. Then we have sports meet-and-greets and performing arts meet-and-greets for people with similar interests.
Ekansh.Indian Link
We also have small events throughout the year like dance workshops, food stalls, henna stalls, and we’re thinking of starting a yoga session for this year.
Then our big events are the Holi celebrations, Desi Bash and Diwali Cruise/Ball. So basically, just a lot of dancing.
What are some other things you do besides social events – help needy students? Charity for needy people outside campus?
Our dance group performs for charity events which is something we try to do every year. We don’t have much funding so it’s hard for us to give money, but we try to help out in other ways. Hopefully this year, we can start a fundraiser to send some stationary over to India. We also hold information evenings every semester for international students. The information evenings are for them to be able to familiarise themselves with Sydney, including information about transport, accommodation, where to find Indian grocery stores close to Uni, etc.
Ekansh.Indian Link
What are some highlights from past years that are still talked about?
The biggest thing that people talk about are our major events. They’re usually the reason people come back every year. Back in 2015, we joined up with PakSoc and threw the Desi Bash together. In 2016, we did the ball with a cool Casino Royale theme where everyone got to play cards, dance and interact.
Do you have any fond memories from these events?
Our Holi event in 2016 had a massive crowd. We held it at Coogee Beach, and it was so big that people that weren’t even part of the societies decided to join us. This Mum and Dad were dancing around and throwing colours at everyone. It was great!
Ekansh.Indian Link
What’s special in 2018?
We really want to push charity work this year. We want to give back to India and other places who need help, and then continue that yearly. We also have plans to have many collaborations with other societies at Sydney University, as well as Indian societies from other universities.
What’s your membership process like?
It is a Sydney University requirement that in order to become a member of a society, you must have an access card. Once an access card is purchased, our members are able to join our society ($5 membership fee) at O-Week, as well as at any of our events.
Ekansh.Indian Link
What benefits do your members get?
Members get discounted tickets to our events, as well as a monthly email updating them on our events and the latest regarding university life. We also have special competitions and lucky draws for our members. But, by far, the biggest benefit is being able to make a group of friends that you’ll constantly see, and be able to make memories with throughout Uni.
How is the executive formed? And who is on the executive this year?
Every year in September, we hold an AGM in which people are able to nominate themselves or others for executive positions for the following year. The positions are then voted on by all those in attendance at the AGM. This year our executive team consists of:
Anjali Israni, President, Bachelor of Science;
Selani Adikari, Vice President, Biomedical Engineering;
Nandini Dua, Secretary,  Bachelor of Science;
Aryan Arora, Treasurer, Bachelor of Commerce;
Neelam Patel, Marketing Coordinator, Bachelor of Science (Honours);
Nischeta Pethi, Sports Officer, Bachelor of Commerce;
Sonali Dewan, Co-Performing Arts Coordinator, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts;
Revati Venkatesh, Co-Peforming Arts Coordinator, Bachelor of Social Work;
Khushboo Dhiman, General Exec, Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science; and
Srishti Patil, General Exec, Bachelor of Information Technology
Ekansh.Indian Link
 
Finally, if you had one goal you wanted to achieve as an organisation in 2018, what would it be?
Making people more aware of Indian culture is a massive thing for us. We want to make it known that we’re open to everyone!
We also want to make Ekansh a comfortable place for our members. We want to make it their home away from home.

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