India Night Draws Standing Room Only Crowds


Sean Lee

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

University of North Dakota


It should be no surprise that a nation as big as India draws the largest crowd during Cultural Night at The University of North Dakota.

Filling the Memorial Union’s Loading Dock, students from India put on an impressive show featuring song, dance and a little bit of showmanship that dazzled the standing-room-only crowd Thursday.

“India Night is always our biggest night of the year,” International Program Director Matthew Hiller said. “Over 150 faculty, students and their families make up the Indian population at UND.”

Despite such a large population, Abhishek Goswami is one of UND’s few undergraduate Indian students, with most of the Indian population consisting of graduate and doctoral candidates.

“It’s more application-based learning here [in the United States],” Goswami said. “Things are more theoretically-based back at home.”

“And there is no such thing as an open book test,” master’s student Kajli Agrawal added.

The line for food snaked out the door and into the lobby of the Union. There were so many mouths to feed that the food had to be special ordered from an Indian restaurant in Fargo. “We used to cook our own food for these events,” Gunjan Dhawan, president of the Student Association of India (SAI), said. “Cooking for hundreds of people is like cooking for a wedding. It became too much.”

Students were treated to a five-course dinner, complete with a carrot pudding for desert.

“Indian food is not as meat-centric as American food,” Goswami said. “We love our cows and we love our vegetables!”

Dhawan, a fourth-year Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics student, noted how grateful she felt for the help and support members of SAI received from UND and the Indian community in Grand Forks. "We started preparing for the event for a month in advance to put together the dances and the fashion show. It feels great to see so many people attending the event, to know more about our culture, our food and make it such a hit. It's all worth in the end, all the planning that students put in."

Sri Lanka will host the next Cultural Night at UND next Thursday, February 17, at the Loading Dock. Admission is free and food costs just $1.