Driving four hours to Blacksburg for a one-night event may seem extravagant — but for the families of the Nepalese Student Association, it’s worth it.
Saturday, Feb. 23, NSA will be hosting Nepal Night for the fourth time in the last eight years. This event brings together people from all over Virginia.
Nepal Night will unite the Nepalese community of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech, their respective family members from northern Virginia and the Nepalese community at VCU.
It wasn’t too long ago that the NSA was practically non-existent. In 2005, the organization was founded by only three students — now, it comprises 85 people.
The main focus of the organization has always been community and that’s why it isn’t just a student organization. High school students, families and kids from the surrounding community are also a part of NSA.
Members have been working together for several months to plan Nepal Night. They have been meeting every weekend, rehearsing, planning and making changes to the program. Thirty people will be performing, including the officers of the organization.
Last year, Nepal Night was filled with back-to-back dances, singing performances and a fashion show. This year, however, they’ve decided to change things up a bit.
“We’re trying to do something new each year,” said Diwas Thapa, vice president of NSA. “This year we’re incorporating the festivals we celebrate in Nepal. We’re showing the audience what festivals we celebrate, why we celebrate them and how we celebrate them.”
The goal of the NSA is to inform people who are curious about the country and its culture — a goal that secretary Stuti Kharel enjoys pursuing.
“People are curious and I really like being the medium through which people learn about us. I like to welcome people,” Kharel said. “We do a lot of advertising, and it’s a free event so more people who are interested will come.”
As NSA grows and becomes more involved on campus by participating in events like Relay for Life and the International Street Fair, more people are beginning to notice them.
According to Thapa, John Boyer offers extra credit for his World Regions students who attend Nepal Night — in addition, the study abroad groups who travel to Nepal are well acquainted with NSA.
As a growing organization, NSA gets the opportunity to share who they are with the diverse community at Tech.
“For me it’s important to work within the Nepali community and I believe it brings us closer. It’s a side of me that I am proud and happy to show,” Kharel said. “We’re a small minority here like so many other minorities. I’m grateful that Virginia Tech gives us the opportunity to represent ourselves in the community.”
One of the goals for the NSA officers is to make Nepal Night an annual event. This is the first time they’ve held the event two years in a row. They didn’t get a chance to do it every year because they didn’t have enough people or the budget to make Nepal Night happen.
Now they have funding from the school, people participating from all around the area and even other schools coming. They’ve even had to limit the event’s performances to 30 because they had too many.
“We aim high,” Kharel said. “We book the GLC for the event, which can hold about 400 people.”
After months of planning, managing and budgeting, the event is nearly here. It will start with both the American and Nepalese National Anthems, followed by singing, dancing and skits.
Everyone participating will be in costume. One of the officers will be hosting the event, while the other officers are part of a group who will perform a dance for the beginning of the show.
The goal is to make Nepal Night an annual event and to continue growing throughout the years. Next year, they will aim to have more schools and families involved, and to educate more Tech students about the unique Nepalese culture.