ISDA Presents: Diwali Night 2018!  

ISDA Presents: Diwali Night 2018!  

By: Alan Nguyen (‘22)

Interviewed: Sunil Reddy (‘22)

Diwali night was a night to remember. On October 26th, we celebrated the Hindu Festival of Lights in the Houston Hall. It was a lively night filled with jubilant singing, lively dancing, hilarious acting, and warm laughter echoing through the night. Though it is a popular festival of Hinduism, it was anything but exclusive. There were many people, including myself, who were not Hindu that celebrated alongside those who were. This was actually the first time I heard of Diwali, and I am very appreciative that my peers invited me into such an eye-opening and festive event. I participated in the event by singing with Penn Dental’s very own acapella group, the Soundbites, and sang Tum Se Hi and the national anthem. There were several other performances that were interspaced within the overarching skit. The main star and emcee of the skit was Sunil Reddy (‘22), the Indian Student Dental Association’s D1 Rep. He was the “bachelor” for the night, and Neel Shah (‘21) and Shivam Patel (‘22), the other two emcees, helped find him his potential match! I interviewed Sunil for his perspective on how the whole night went.

What is Diwali night?

Diwali Night has been a PDM tradition for many years! It’s a time where we celebrate the Hindu Holiday, Diwali. The basis of Diwali stems from the ideology of “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” I believe that the meaning behind the holiday is something that resonates with many people of various backgrounds. It’s really exciting to be able to share this part of our culture with our fellow classmates! Diwali Night is an event organized by Penn’s Indian Students Dental Association [ISDA]. As a D1, this was my first time participating/organizing this event and the whole process of putting the celebration together was a lot of fun.

What was the planning process like?

I was actually selected as the D1 representative for ISDA Late September/Early October. By this time, the majority of the logistics regarding Diwali Night were already complete, but I can speak about the process after I became part of it. Putting this event together was definitely a team effort. With the scale of this event, there are a million little details that you need to keep track of in order to ensure everything runs smoothly. Coordinating with various performance groups, setting up a skit along with a theme,  and managing/tabling for ticket sales, were all part of bringing this night together.

What was your role during the night?

As one of the Emcee for the night, I was responsible for introducing the various groups that were performing, keeping the show on schedule, and entertaining everyone that attended. Additionally, as an ISDA board member, I was responsible for helping set up the venue for the event as well as cleaning up afterwards.

What is your role as a D1 rep?

I’m primarily responsible for communicating meetings and events to the 1st year class. I also relay suggestions and feedback from our D1 class to the organization. The best part about this position would be the flexibility of it. This role allows me to engage with my fellow D1 classmates as well as with our upper classmates. It also allows me to help create a little community within the D1 class that share these interests. I enjoy getting to know the Penn Dental Community as a whole and ISDA is a really useful organization for just that!

How did you feel during the entire night?

At the beginning of the night, there was a lot going on with stage rehearsals, tech setup, coordinating with the caterers, etc.. It was a little overwhelming at first, but my fellow ISDA board members were on top of everything! They really are a great group of hard-working individuals, and I admire their dedication towards this show. I was slightly nervous about emceeing, as this was my first time participating in the show, but I really enjoyed it.

Best/Worst parts about the whole process/event?

I enjoyed being able to entertain everyone. It was also nice to see some of our classmates’ families attend. The best part about the whole process was the support that not only the board members provided for each other but also the support from our other classmates!

It’s really hard to find a negative part about this process. All of the effort that went into coordinating this event, was absolutely worth it!