“This is my first time at an HSC event, and I am really happy I came,” said Lakshmi Chandrashekar, an alumni of Emory University. “I am glad I found the company of Hindu [youth] like this, who are so dedicated to their work, and also very easy to relate to in a way that I haven’t really encountered in many other places.”
The Annual Leadership Meet offered Hindu youth an opportunity to learn about HSC as an organization, network with each other and collaborate by exchanging ideas and finding support on how to lead a student organization on campus. Participants learned about publicity, fundraising, spiritual management, how to represent Dharma on campus and how to improve activities of their HSC chapter. In addition, the event helped youth connect their spiritual passion to the significance of doing Hindu advocacy work.
During the weekend, the students visited the Gayatri Chetna Center and the Sri Venkateshwara Temple to spend time on spiritual reflection, and heard from engaging speakers on Hindu topics relevant to youth today.
“It is as wonderful as it is rare to have such a meaningful gathering of Hindu youth come together to learn and discuss topics quintessential to the future of Dharma,” remarked Ravi Jaishankar, General Secretary of Hindu Students Council.
Prominent Hindu youth leaders motivated the attendees through talks and discussions. Vineet Chander, Hindu Chaplain at Princeton University, shared some inspiring wisdom with the youth. His first talk on effective leadership techniques was aimed at providing some guiding principles to the young audience. Using examples from his own life, he stressed key spiritual principles that greatly impacted how he conducted himself as a Hindu leader on campus.
In his second talk, Chander narrated relevant stories from Ramayana. Using storytelling skills, he enchanted the audience and engaged them in a discussion about what they could get from these stories and how the spiritual wisdom in the Itihasa can be applied to their daily lives.
Aditi Banerjee, a prominent young Hindu scholar and activist, and co-author and editor of “Invading the Sacred,” shared her insights on the future of Hinduism in America and the role of Hindu youth in preserving and protecting Dharma. This was followed by some exciting questions and answers between the students and Ms. Banerjee.
At the Leadership Meet, HSC’s Educational Resources Coordinator Sarika Persaud presented an overview of the organization, its vision and mission and its activities throughout the years. Partnering with Persaud, Sonal Nadiadhara, HSC’s VP for Chapter and Regional Activities, discussed HSC’s organizational protocols and regulations as well as the Common Chapter Program that encourage harmonious activities across HSC chapters.
Jennifer Kistama, HSC’s Fundraising Coordinator and a nursing student at New York University conducted an energizing session on how chapters can raise funds on campuses for their activities. Kistama encouraged students to be creative and not lose motivation.
Pallav Agarwal, from Stanford University, gave a riveting presentation on effective PR and outreach strategies, which resulted in robust discussion amongst participants sharing ideas from their individual chapters.
Saturday evening concluded with a dinner banquet, coupled with organizational announcements of new leadership at the Executive Board and Board of Trustees level for the upcoming year.
“This year’s leadership meet was one of the best of recent years. Fresh ideas and new faces as we have a lot of new projects in the works. As we have new leadership for SC in january we hope to achieve a lot more this upcoming year!” commented Hindu Students Council President Priya Radhakrishnan.