Indian American Student Association – Barger Leadership Institute Student Voices

Indian American Student Association

By Priya Kalra

Each year, the Indian American Student Association (IASA) at the University of Michigan runs the
largest student-run non-competitive production in North America. This year, the event took place on
November 3rd at the Michigan Theater and featured student performances through over ten dances that
represent various aspects of Indian culture. This show brings together members both within and outside of
the University of Michigan community, coming from all types of backgrounds and experiences. Through
this annual show, IASA donates all proceeds made from ticket sales to an organization of choice, as a
means of giving back to the community.

Last year, I was both a choreographer and dancer in the IASA show for the Evolution dance, which is an
upbeat dance style, highlighting songs spanning throughout generations. This year, I serve on IASA board
as the Community Service Chair, where I am responsible for helping our members engage with the
community by hosting volunteer events, activities, and discussions. Some examples of this include the
Day of Service where we helped a women’s and children’s shelter in Detroit, in addition to hosting a
blanket-making and care package event. Furthemore, as Community Service chair, I am responsible for
selecting this year’s charity to donate our cultural show charity proceeds to. We decided to select
Children’s Hope India which has helped lift children from poverty to prosperity for 30+ years by leading
initiatives focused on education, vocational training, career development, mental wellbeing, and more.

Furthermore, as an IASA board member, I am responsible for ensuring that the cultural show runs
smoothly. This includes tasks such as directing dancers backstage and guiding audience members to their
seats. Another leadership role I had was the opportunity to speak on stage during a portion of the show,
where I was responsible for educating the audience about our charity, announcing our donation amount,
and accepting the check. Although serving as a board member is extremely stressful during the show, I
learned the importance of time management, organization, and bouncing back from unexpected
challenges. My experience serving as a board member for IASA and assuming leadership roles during
show day truly allowed me to grow as a person and helped enhance my leadership skills, which I hope to
apply to future endeavors.

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