DSU Raunaq Club prepared to help international Indian students
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
For international students attending Douglas, it can be understandably hard to adjust to the quick-paced life of a college student in Canada. For those who are a part of the growing Indian community on campus, the DSU Raunaq Club wants to extend a welcoming hand.
Bhavneet Toor, President of DSU Raunaq Club, said, “At the DSU Raunaq Club, we have created an avenue for students at Douglas College to discover and celebrate the richness of Indian culture and enabling positive contributions in the community.”
“We try to celebrate all Indian festivals with enthusiasm on campus, for which we arrange parties, so that the whole community can come together as one and celebrate the prominence of the Indian brotherhood, culture, and music. Our main focus is on international students coming from India who face problems with housing, culture shock, and jobs. We try to provide them with the best advice, job offers, and housing information.”
Formed back in 2011, the club was known under the name DSU Punjabi Students Federation, with its main motive to promote Punjabi culture at Douglas. Once the leadership role was passed onto Toor, she soon realized the problem with the name of their club.
“Punjab was just a small part of India and the name focused on only our Punjabi students,” Toor said.
“Students from other parts of India, such as Delhi, Haryana, and Mumbai used to feel left out and never participated in our gatherings. Therefore, it was suggested to change the name to Raunaq, which is a Hindi word for celebration—now, we cater to all the Indo-Canadian people. The club is still running successfully for five years straight and this semester we got approximately 90 new additions to our club catering to more than 500 people.”
Toor noted that members are eager to share their struggles, with executives providing a helping hand, especially when it comes to Eve teasing (public sexual harassment), racism, or culture shock. Understandably, international students remain the focus of the Raunaq Club. In addition, Toor shared that they are more than happy to welcome non-Indians.
“We did have a few non-Indians back in 2013 and 2015 at our parties and bhangra practice. We want everyone from the college community to know how rich and diverse our culture is.”
This past year, the DSU Raunaq Club has performed Bhangra, a Punjabi dance, at the 125th Anniversary of Coquitlam, for the Bhangra Festival, the end of semester party back in April, and during EDGE. Most recently, they held the Diwali Party 2016 at the Bollywood Banquet Hall. In addition, they plan to perform Bhangra for an event on November 28 in the Coquitlam campus. Every Wednesday, they teach Bhangra, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Room N2221.
“This club has helped me to develop my interpersonal skills, confidence, and patriotism towards India,” Toor said.
“I want to be a great mentor to my fellow students. I look forward to grow in all fields, be it Bhangra, my accounting career, leadership, or event organizing. I would like to serve as the President until I graduate. I won’t stop teaching Bhangra even if I graduate. We, at the DSU Raunaq Club, are pleased to help new and current Indian international students with all the possible help, be it work, studies, immigration documents or housing related.”