Colourful Holi festival helps DMU Indian Society win best of the year

As a university committed to the public good, it’s no surprise that De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s societies do their bit to help communities.

From DMU Rowing Club cleaning up the Grand Union Canal where they train to the African-Caribbean Society’s mentoring programme and the DMU Saints leading cheerleading classes in schools, members have devised and led a variety of projects helping people in Leicester and around the world.

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Six societies made it to the finals of this year’s DMU Square Mile Awards’ Society of the Year award, with the title going to DMU’s Indian Society. The society won for its incredible work creating the Holi festival on campus, which has gone from strength to strength since it started in 2012.

Holi is the Hindu festival of Spring and is packed with colourful celebrations as students, staff and members of the public packed Bede Park to throw coloured powder over one another and help raise money for good causes at the same time.

This year’s Holi was the biggest and best yet, with funding from DMU’s Faculty of Technology, International Admissions office, DMU Square Mile, Leicester City Council and Dalton Manor printing. A DJ was hired and Bede Park opened to the public for the afternoon.

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Hundreds of people came along, with everyone getting a free packet of colour to throw when they arrived. People could then buy more packets with all proceeds going to charity.

The Indian Society raised more than £1,000 for DMU Square Mile India Fund, which supports youngsters in a children’s home in Ahmedabad by providing essentials such as books, medicine, sports equipment and more. Money was also donated to the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust and Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Krishna Nama Manjunatha, vice-chair of the society, said: “We are so proud to win this award. Every year the Holi celebrations at DMU have got bigger and bigger, and involve people from across Leicester not just the university. Students from all different faiths and backgrounds look forward to celebrating and it brings us all together. It is wonderful to have this recognition from the Square Mile.”

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Arpith Shetty, a second-year Software Engineering student, is the secretary of the Indian Society. He said it was now their flagship event.

Josh Hargreaves, project and outreach co-ordinator at DMU Square Mile, said the Indian Society were a great example of a society getting involved in the community. He added: “They are always up for raising awareness and money for the Square Mile India Fund, and organise one of the most engaging events of the year.”

Finalists were: DMU Rowing Club; DMU ACS’ mentoring scheme; DMU Tae Kwon Do running classes at Shaftesbury Junior School; DMU Netball’s NetFest, which raised thousands for Square Mile India and DMU Saints’ “mini cheers” cheerleading classes.