February 7-9, 2014. New Brunswick, NJ – The Hindu Students Council held its Annual Leadership Meet to educate college students from around the country about how to be world-class stewards of Sanatana Dharma in America.
“I am so happy I got an opportunity to meet and learn so much from everyone that was there. Our conversation…definitely motivated me to become a better leader/person not only at my own university but for all of Hindu Students Council as a whole. Thank you for that! ” said Sai Saroja Kolluru, a junior at Stony Brook University.
The Annual Leadership Meet was attended by 30 students representing 12 universities. The event offered Hindu youth an opportunity to learn about how they can support and grow their college HSC chapters by networking at a national level with other motivated young leaders and the national executive board. Participants learned publicity and fundraising skills from experienced HSC alumni, and the national leaders facilitated discussions on best practices for representing Sanatana Dharma in events on campus. Students also learned how the national HSC leadership team can provide educational and other resources to help them organize and fund events at their chapters. The event also provided an open forum to learn the basics of Hinduism and current issues affecting the Hindu-American community.
“Our generation of young Hindus needs to be educated on the fundamentals of Hinduism, its philosophy, and overall spirituality underlying Dharma. HSC serves as a portal for young Hindus to learn about Hindu heritage and actively take up the torch of Dharma, thus creating empowered, educated leadership to support the future of Hinduism”, said Ravindra Jaishankar, President of Hindu Students Council.
Prominent Hindu community leaders attended the event and presented talks that highlighted the significance of engaging in Dharmic advocacy work. Vineet Chander, Hindu Chaplain at Princeton University, spoke about the lifelong search to find one’s svadharma, or individual duty in this lifetime.
Aditi Banerjee, a prominent Hindu scholar and co-author of “Invading the Sacred,” shared her assessment of the challenges Hinduism faces in India and America and spoke about righteous ways to preserve and protect Sanatana Dharma.
HSC’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Nikunj Trivedi, presented an overview of HSC and its mission throughout the years. Educational Resources Coordinator Sarika Persaud, a Columbia graduate student in psychology, led a session on stress management and educational resources. Mr. Jaishankar, a business analyst at AT&T Inc., gave a presentation on what it means to be a Hindu leader. Nishini Kistama, HSC’s Fundraising Coordinator and RN at New York Presbyterian Hospital, conducted a discussion on effective tactics for chapters to raise funds on campuses for big events. Along with Ashu Kapoor, a neuropsychology PhD student at Yeshiva University, Kistama held a session on problem solving strategies for young leaders at universities.
Saturday evening concluded with a dinner banquet, games and deep discussions among participants on topics ranging from the stories of the Ramayana and Mahabharata to current issues such as diaspora issues, new-age spirituality, and Indian politics.
“For the last 24 years, HSC’s Annual Meets and training sessions have provided a national forum for our chapters to learn about HSC as an organization and exchange ideas on how to effectively manage their chapters. So, I am glad to see the trend continue as younger leadership takes over and manages the changing needs of Hindu students on campuses” remarked Mr. Trivedi.