Increasing Awareness through my Passion for the Arts
As we meet more people in our day to day lives, we come to notice that we are more different than we are similar. However, it’s these differences that seem to bring us closer to one another. Varying cultures play a large role in these differences and cultural awareness is more needed today than it ever has been before. My passion for dance has allowed me to increase cultural awareness on East Carolina University’s campus and continue to educate students and faculty on an important part of my heritage, while also providing cultural, mental, and physical awareness in the dancers of the team. Raas is a North Indian folk-dance that originates in the state of Gujarat in India. ECU Raas is a dance team that was created on campus in the spring of 2015 by a freshman student who wanted to see more of her own background and heritage on campus through the form of dance. Being a recognized Predominantly White Institution (PWI), East Carolina University’s ability to welcome different groups, like ECU Raas, and advocate for cultural awareness is absolutely necessary to increase the diversity of our campus. Since the beginning of my freshman year in Fall 2015, I have served as the captain of the team. Through my four years of leading the team, I have seen how my love for Raas has increased cultural awareness not only on campus, but also in the dancers and their appreciation for their cultural roots. Each individual on the team has been able to increase their understanding of their rich ethnicity and proudly embrace their culture on campus. The team has strengthened cultural diversity and has encouraged inclusivity since it was established. Since its creation, ECU Raas has competed and placed at multiple national dance competitions. Additionally, the team has given back to our local community through various events. ECU Raas hosts the annual Dil Se Naach Bollywood-Fusion charity dance competition every February, has engaged in multiple presentations across campus and has left a lasting impression at our university and its dancers.
East Carolina University