Holi celebrated on campus – despite changes

Marshall University staff and students commemorated Holi, the South Asian celebration of spring, color and triumph over evil, on Monday with music, free cookies and tie-dye in the Memorial Student Center Plaza.   

Two student volunteers with Intercultural Affairs guided other students participating in the celebration. Adebukola Adegoke, a senior health informatics student at MU, said she has worked events like this before as MU’s Pan-African Student Association coordinator. Adegoke said COVID-19 has made it difficult to host in-person events, and she hopes there can be more events like Herd Holi in the future.   

“We’ve found a way to hold programs online and engage with students despite the COVID outbreak,” Adegoke said. “I’m really excited that students came out today because this is our first major event of the semester. I’m glad students are coming back on campus now so that more events like this can take place and encourage student interaction again.”  

Mwuese Titoraddingi, an MU student pursuing a master’s degree in social work, said she has been working with Intercultural Affairs for two months now. She’s glad to see campus life slowly return to normal.   

“I’m enjoying myself here,” Titoraddingi said. “It’s really interesting to learn about so many different countries and learn about their influence in the world and at Marshall. I feel like I was shortchanged, coming from Africa and then being hit by COVID, but I am looking forward to more events like this. There is so much to do, learn and see.”  

Jim Clagg, the coordinator for International Student Affairs, said international students who come to the states enjoy sharing their culture with domestic students and being able to connect to their culture while away from home.   

“They love that little taste of home,” Clagg said, “so even though they’re on a campus on the opposite side of the world, they can still celebrate things that they’re used to.”  

Clagg said in previous “Herd Holis,” students would throw colored powder at each other to follow traditional Holi practices. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, this was replaced with a tie-dying activity so students could still celebrate the role of color in the holiday.   

Clagg said Intercultural Affairs is currently working on another in-person event this spring. Clagg said on April 15, Intercultural Affairs will celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year and water festival, with a campus water fight on East Hall field.   

“We’d love anyone to come,” Clagg said. “It’s a nice way to get students together and back outside while still practicing safe social distancing.”  

Madison Perdue can be contacted at [email protected]