The new student association officially launched their administration on Aug. 23 with a combined Welcome Day for freshmen and Club Day, complete with bells, whistles and bhangra to launch the Year of India.
The event began with incoming students following the age-old Queens College tradition of leaving and re-entering the college gates. They were led — as part of an opening event to the Year of India — by Indian-Western fusion band, Red Baraat.
After welcoming addresses from President James Muyskens, Provost James Stellar and Students For Change President Karamvir Singh, students were led to the Quad to socialize. Playfair, an organization aimed at team building, assisted with more than 1,000 students in attendance.
“Other colleges like USC and Michigan have huge events,” explained Karamvir Singh, the president of Student Association. “I wanted more for the QC community.”
Club days held in the past were three weeks after classes began, which limited new student involvement in extracurricular activities, according to Singh.
“By inviting the college’s clubs and organizations right onto the Quad, where new, incoming students were mandated to attend, we were able to hit two birds with one stone,” said John Andrejack, the executive director of student life.
In addition to getting more students familiar with the college’s extracurricular activities, Welcome Day also consisted of cultural events and concerts by Red Baraat, as well as the American pop-punk band, We the Kings.
The launch of Year of India was commemorated with a large cultural event, with students and staff members participating in a 2-minute North Indian dance called bhangra, led by Masala Bhangra Workout founder, Sarina Jain.
“The bhangra flash mob was bigger than anyone could have expected,” Andrejack said. “It was even aired on ABC News.”
Adding to the Indian theme were stilt walkers wearing kurtas — loose South Asian shirt — QC administration wearing haars — necklaces of marigold flowers strung together — and Chartwells serving an Indian meal to the students during the concert.
Red Baraat played for a crowd of about 70 students, while We the Kings — who stayed an hour after their performance to sign autographs and take pictures with fans — performed for nearly 200.
The number of students attending the concerts—funded by the student government — was very small relative to the number that arrived earlier that day. Singh and Andrejack admitted to there being some mistakes in how the events unfolded — particularly the low attendance of concerts that cost thousands of dollars. Students arrived for Welcome Day at 9 a.m., while the concerts were scheduled well into the day, around 1 p.m.
“The crowd moved much faster than we had anticipated,” said Andrejack. “Had they [Red Baraat and We the Kings] been able to get on and perform right away, we would have had more students attend the concerts.”
Despite the snag in the events later in the day, Welcome Day was considered successful by those in attendance.
“Welcome Day was an amazing kick-off to the next four years of my life. Meeting and dancing with Sarina Jain, the Student Association, and the class of 2016 truly made me feel that QC will be my new second home,” said freshman, Raj Maheswari.
Singh, the college’s second Indian student president taking office, conveniently ties in with the celebration of the Year of India. In the past two weeks alone, his administration has organized two free concerts for the student body in an effort to increase community. The concerts on Aug. 23 and Sept. 6 cost roughly $19,000 with multiple donors and offices sponsoring the events.