Holi: The Festival of Color brings Indian culture to campus


Mary Mitchell

SPB hosted a Holi celebration, complete with music and balloons, to welcome the coming of spring on Friday, April 14.

Oakland University students got a taste of Indian culture at Holi: The Festival of Color, hosted by the Student Program Board on April 14.

This SPB event was the first of its kind at OU. It was held on the Oakland Center North Lawn. Having the large space on the lawn allowed for a color-bomb fight during the event.

It’s about being happy and having fun”

— Sean Foe, Diversity Director of SPB

Lauren Jurczyszyn, the marketing director for SPB, said color is a big part of traditional Holi events. SPB used dyed starch for its color bombs. Every 15 minutes, SPB would allow students to throw color bombs in the air, creating a big cloud of color. Between those tosses, participants enjoyed pelting each other with color bombs.

“In a word, it was insane,” Jurczyszyn said. “It was so cool because you would see all of these separate colors that would just become one big cloud of color.”

SPB Diversity Director Sean Foe said the event welcomed the spring. 

“It’s about being happy and having fun,” he said. “It’s a celebration filled with colored powder, music and dancing. It’s the last SPB program of the year, and we just want it to be a happy, fun-filled event.”

Holi was indeed a colorful event filled with dancing, Indian music and Channel 955 DJs playing American music. Foe said he hoped the Indian music gave students a taste of a culture different than the one they live in. 

Planning for the event started back in October 2016. As it was SPB’s first time doing this event, it came with a lot of hard work.

“In terms of planning, we’ve been securing reservations, getting the colored powder and planning the marketing,” he said.

Marketing included flyers and a hump-day event during which students threw paint-filled balloons onto canvases last week between the OC and Dodge Hall.

Jurczyszyn spent the days leading up to the event sharing information and videos on Holi events to educate students before they came. She wanted students to know the tradition behind the event. 

As diversity director, Foe plans events that highlight the diversity of Oakland’s campus.

He said it is important to him to provide cultural events on campus because students can understand and be exposed to different cultures.

“I think one of the things that makes OU great is how diverse the student population is,” he said. “That extends just beyond race. It extends to sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic class. Any different type of diversity is really important for us to highlight.”

SPB President Cassie Hock said students should be exposed to different cultures at all times. She said learning about different people is one of the best parts of college.

“It is very important during college because students are being exposed to a lot of diversity that they have not seen before, and it is important for them to be educated,” she said.