UNC Charlotte Hindu YUVA conducted a program, named Bridging the Gap, involving two Dharmic faiths (Hindu and Sikh) and three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). It started with an introduction to Hindu YUVA and the need for communication between the religions. The last part of the program was reserved for questions from the audience, which had many things to ask the panel members. Even though there were not many religious similarities uncovered during the discussion, everyone agreed that the program went well. About 30 people participated in the two hour program.
Guru Vandhana, “Reverence to the Teacher,” took place for the first time in the history of one of America’s top universities, Case Western Reserve University. The event honored Professor of Mathematics, Christopher Butler. Guru Vandhana is a concept, an idea that is as old as humanity itself. If looked at from the literal definition, the “Gu” in Guru means Darkness/Ignorance, and “Ru” means Light. The Guru is the One who dispels the darkness of ignorance and bestows upon him or her knowledge. From a spiritual prespective, the word Guru is “one who is beyond attributes and forms.”
Hindu YUVA at UNC Chapel Hill participated in the 2nd annual Holi event on campus. The event was co-sponsored by 4 other organizations. The event was held in the center of campus with almost 500 people in attendance. The event started with the significance of Holi and then the fun started. Holi was a fundraiser for the Bhutanese Empowerment Project, an effort by Sewa International to provide a helping hand to Bhutanese refugees in the United States. Holi was a great event to meet other students on campus, get to know other organizations on campus, and contribute to the community.
Twenty students attended a Yoga presentation at Brandeis University (Massachusetts) on March 18th. This event was organized jointly by Hindu YUVA and the South Asian club at Brandeis. The speaker, Vikas Deshpande, spoke about Yoga as both philosophy and practice to attain healthy body, mind and spirit, as well as to fulfill duties towards the society and humanity. The emphasis was not just on Yoga that develops healthy body, mind and spirit, but also to utilize the strength gained for betterment of humanity. It was a great learning experience for everyone who attended.
Speaker on Campus (SOC) - the annual university lecture series organized and conducted by the youth chapter of HSS – Hindu YUVA - was held in the latter month of February at three campuses across the state of Florida. The participating universities, University of South Florida (USF-Tampa), University of Central Florida (UCF-Orlando) and University of Miami (UM-Miami), invited Professor Sreenath, a professor at Case Western Reserve University. Professor Sreenath teaches electrical engineering and computer science, and is the director of the Complex Systems Biology Center. The lectures delivered by Professor Sreenath at each university varied according to the interest shown by the student body.
Hindu YUVA organized a weekend youth camp from February 20-21 in Cleveland, Ohio. A total of 25 youth attended the “Yuva Sangam.” The participants consisted of 13 students from University of Cincinnati (5), University of Dayton (1) and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (7). 12 young professionals from Columbus, Pittsburg and Cleveland also participated.
This past month, dozens of Hindu youth gathered together in three different places in the US for the weekend yuva sangams organized by Hindu YUVA. The events, which were held in Texas, Indiana and Seattle, were packed with creative and interactive sessions that encompassed both intellectual and physical sessions, allowing for a proper balance, leaving the youth with a clear sense of self-identity (what is my culture, my religion, my heritage) and newfound friendships.
This summer, five undergraduate students from all over the US dedicated their time for the Sewa USA service internship program, Yuva for Sewa. Yuva for Sewa (YFS) is a unique opportunity that encourages young adults to volunteer their time and effort, while using their area of expertise and interest, to help the disadvantaged. Projects throughout the US, India, and the Caribbean are designed for personality development, building leadership and team work, empowering visionaries and providing first-hand experience in helping the community.
The Hindu YUVA chapter at the University of Cincinnati (UC) organized a lively tour to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for new students from India. The coordinators contacted graduate students in UC, particularly incoming graduates. It was a fruitful effort to show them the glimpses of natural beauty around the area.
The South East region held its first Yuva Sangam (Youth Retreat) over the Memorial Day weekend, from May 22nd to May 25th 2009 with a total attendance of 28 people, 26 of which were students. A total of 7 campuses were represented from the southern region, including the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, North Carolina State University (NCSU), and Duke from North Carolina, the University of Georgia and University of Athens from Georgia, and the University of Florida and University of Central Florida from Florida.