Flags of many colors will unite with maroon and white as Texas A&M University students come together to celebrate the many and varied cultures that are a part of the Aggie community. The International Student Association (ISA) at Texas A&M invites everyone to explore the world right here on campus during “I-Week,” April 5-12.
The weeklong celebration will feature live performances, food and fashion, educational exhibits and what organizers say will be the biggest paint party in Aggieland, “I-Color,” which is based on the Hindu festival of colors, “Holi,” observed primarily in India and Nepal. Droves of Aggies will descend on Simpson Drill Field on Sunday, April 7 from noon-4 p.m. to decorate themselves and one another with brightly colored paint, eat together and dance to music provided by local DJs, all to celebrate diversity and display their unity as Aggies, say organizers.
“I-Week is a very old tradition at Texas A&M and a beautiful depiction of different cultures all week long,” says ISA President Brijesh Angira, a graduate student in plant breeding and a native of India. “Diversity is a big issue today. ‘I-Week’ lets Aggies and the Bryan-College community experience and learn about the different cultures and traditions of the world. It also brings international and domestic students together in common activities and makes a bridge between them.”
Texas A&M enrolls more than 4,700 international students representing about 130 countries around the world.
The celebratory week kicks off on Friday, April 5 from 6:30-9 p.m. in Room 113, Wehner, with “I-Talent,” a competition designed to showcase entertainment acts from all over the local area. The show is not cultural-specific and is open to anyone in the community over the age of 18. The top three acts will receive cash prizes. Talent show tickets are $5 and available at the MSC Box Office or at the door.
Other ticketed “I-Week” events include “I-Show” and “I-Fashion;” a single $5 ticket from the MSC Box Office or at the door will allow admission to both events, April 10 from 6-10 p.m. at Rudder Theatre. “I-Show” is a cultural talent show where students from different countries will perform traditional dances and music, and “I-Fashion” is a cultural fashion show where traditional international clothing will be modeled.
Those eager to sample international cuisine can come for “I-Buffet,” featuring foods from more than a half-dozen countries. The buffet will take place in the Garden Room at the Student Recreation Center on April 12 from 6-9 p.m.; tickets are available at the MSC Box Office for $8 in advance, or at the door for $10.
“I-Color” and the rest of the “I-Week” events are free, including “I-Exhibit,” a daylong cultural exhibition where different international student organizations will exhibit their cultures, traditions and food; “I-Wedding,” a showcase of international wedding traditions featuring mock weddings; and “I-History,” a series of lectures given by international students on noteworthy historical events that have happened in their home countries.
A full schedule of events can be viewed here.
ISA is an umbrella organization for all international student organizations on campus, says Angira, and organizes several cultural and educational events to fulfill members’ goals of encouraging diversity on campus and bridging the gap between international and domestic students. “ISA is also involved in volunteer service, training new international students and orientation, such as campus tours,” he notes.
“‘I-Week’ is the biggest cultural event on the campus; we are expecting several thousand will attend this year’s festivities.”
All “I-Week” events are initiatives of ISA, which joins the Indian Graduate Student Association (IGSA), Indian Association (IA) and Hindu Student Association (HSA) in planning and sponsoring “I-Color.”
For a complete list of “I-Color” organizers and partners, click here.