First Bangladesh Night proves successful in diversifying campus, community

Md Riaz Ahmed Kahn showed his respect and love for his home country by performing a flute solo to a traditional Bangladeshi song. 

The audience watched in awe and admired his talent in the Volstorff Ballroom, which did not hold any open seats. 

His performance, along with many others, contributed to a night of cultural appreciation and historical celebration. 

South Dakota State University’s first-ever Bangladesh Night was hosted on campus by the Bangladeshi Students’ Association (BDSA) April 3. 

This 60 member group, which includes students as well as dependents, has been working toward this night since September 2015. 

Bangladesh just celebrated its 45th year of independence from India March 26, according to the host, Shihan Shaheed, and hostess, Nujhat “Prianka” Azad. Throughout the night, Shaheed and Azad shared facts and trivia about Bangladesh with the audience. 

The event celebrated historical traditions of the Bangladeshi people including traditional food, song and dance. Performances, such as tribal dances and a fashion show of traditional Bangladeshi clothing, were also displayed. 

One of the many performances included the men of BDSA showing off their dance moves to modern American and Bangladeshi music. BDSA members also created paintings displaying the beauty of Bangladesh that hung high on the walls of the VBR. 

Adam Goetz, a junior pharmacy major, said he was amazed by the amount of support on campus for the Bangladeshi community. 

“The entire ballroom was filled with students,” Goetz said. “It was incredible to see how important it really is to our community to see how diverse campus is becoming.” 

Goetz liked that the number of cultures on campus is growing. 

He said it’s important to celebrate every culture at SDSU. “Without that, we’d never be able to appreciate our own history,” he said. 

Abby Vogel, a freshman nursing major, agreed. 

“I think it’s truly beautiful to see diversity being celebrated on campus,” Vogel said. “Along with that, I believe every culture we have on campus deserves to be recognized.” 

A year ago, Vogel’s experiences with diversity were few. She went to a small high school, where almost every student was white. 

“Since coming to SDSU, I’ve really learned to appreciate everyone’s different cultures and backgrounds. It’s inspiring,” Vogel said.  

The audience was primarily made up of students. However, faculty, staff and small children were also in attendance. BDSA members included a solo dance performed by a young girl, Shayonti Megha. She performed a traditional dance of Bangladeshi culture, wearing a traditional sahri and detailed makeup.

Kahn, a senior electrical engineering major, explained that even though there are several Indian cultures expressed on campus, Bangladeshi is different. 

“We tried to showcase our originality and innovation, both in cultural events and food, to give the people an essence of a unique tradition,” he said. 

Along with Kahn, many other students from BDSA shared their talents and expressed their culture through music and dance. 

BDSA will continue showcasing their culture even though Bangladesh Night is over. 

“As soon as we are done editing our videos, our plan is to post them to social media to reach more students,” he said. 

Kahn was satisfied with the number of people who attended Bangladesh Night.

“We are very happy to have large attendance, both natives and international people,” he said. “I believe they will be our agents themselves for advertising our tradition to the student body.” 

He said a sense of unity will wash over campus after students are immersed in the Bangladeshi culture. 

“I believe this event definitely made them more and more interested about Bangladeshi culture and tradition,” Kahn said. “It will help to promote understanding, friendship, integrity and cooperation among the people.”