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Kaafila Kicks Off at International Coffee Hour

Every month, the Temple University Office of International Affairs hosts an International Student Coffee Hour where both domestic and international students gather to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. This semester, each Coffee Hour features a spotlight country, whose culture is represented and discussed at the event. The country of focus this month is India, which on Tuesday, October 8th was brought to the Underground in the Student Center through music, food, clothing, and language. Beyond this cultural spotlight, it was also the first event of  Kaafila, Temple’s new Indian Student Association, who co-sponsored the Coffee Hour with the Office of International Affairs.

Kaafila began to form during the Fall 2017 semester, when students noticed that there was no specific organization for Indian students. Its name is an Urdu word roughly translating to “caravan.” The name was selected as it implies a group of travelers on a journey together.

After seeing the need for Kaafila on campus, “We then started our Instagram and Facebook pages and started spreading the word,” described Social Media Manager, Resham Punjabi. “After one year, after so many delays, here we are doing our first event!”

At the event, the organization’s Vice President, Anmol Gupta, spoke about the need for an Indian Student Association and his vision for Kaalifa in the future. “It’s an amazing event which gave us an opportunity to provide insights about India’s colorful and vast culture, the food, Bollywood music, and India’s political framework with the United States, to approximately 120 diverse students and professors present here,” he commented. When International Student Affairs reached out to Kaafila for their spotlight on India, it was a perfect fit. With support from the Office of International Student Affairs and local food truck Taste of India, the event finally came together and kicked off the club.

The festivities began with an introduction to Kaafila, followed by a round of Indian-themed Kahoot trivia. Kaafila members Rohit Mittal and Aasawari Gharat also performed “60 Years of Bollywood,” a medley of old and new Hindi-language hits. The presentation was followed by traditional Indian food including samosas with chutney and mango lassi, served alongside the coffee, tea, and cookies typical of International Coffee Hour. Student Chirag Chanda collaborated with the owners of Taste of India, a food truck parked on Montgomery outside of the Student Center, who provided the event’s Indian cuisine.

“There are a lot of people who have not heard of the truck, so this will definitely get some new crowd over there,” Chanda said.  

The event attracted a diverse population of students, including international students from countries such as Nigeria and China as well as domestic students interested in learning more about Indian culture. It also brought in Indian students looking to celebrate and share their own culture with others.

International Student Affairs Director Leah Hetzell said, “There was a large turnout and it was a pleasure to be able to introduce the Temple community to a new organization. I think the Indian students are really excited, but there are a lot of other students here as well so it’s great to see that support.”

The event was a great opportunity for a diverse group of students to learn about and celebrate Indian culture, and Kaafila’s exciting debut will soon be followed by a Diwali event scheduled for November. With a large and diverse population in attendance, this month’s International Coffee Hour was certainly a success!