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ISA brings Valentine’s dance

ALLISON MAZZARELLA, Staff Writer

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This Friday, February 10, students will have the opportunity to join the International Student Association (ISA) at the Old Central Ballroom for a Valentine’s dance called “Midnight Under the Moon” – a night featuring music, dance, food and prizes.  The event, which starts at 8 p.m., is free and open to all students.

ISA plans three to four big events annually, and while the theme changes every year, the Valentine’s dance is always one of them.

“One of the reasons we started doing this [dance], is because, as an international student and community, we don’t always have the option of celebrating Valentine’s day,” said Harsha Varma, ISA vice president.

The Valentine’s dance is a way to get the international community involved with American culture.  While ISA plans numerous events that specialize in bringing culture to UNI, this particular dance is special in that it is a way for international students to celebrate a holiday that isn’t celebrated in their countries.

This is Varma’s third year being involved in ISA and the committee that organizes the annual dance.

“We’ve always had the executive team choosing what kind of team we have,” Varma said. “After [we choose], we get back to the members and separate them into different committees—decoration, planning, advertising.”

Each of these different committees that make up ISA then bring ideas back to the table, and the executive team hears from them on what they want.  The planning starts once the team makes an executive decision.

“As an executive team, we have to initially decide when we want [the dance] to be, and make sure that all of our schedules will be in sync,” Varma said. “And then once we got that done, we just popped up a few names, and took it to the members to see what they wanted. And all of us came to a good consensus of ‘Midnight Under the Moon’ being the theme.”

Diksha Ojha, ISA director of activities, explained the idea behind the name.

“This was a theme that was done four or five years ago, when none of these students that we have here now would have been there,” Ojha said. “And from what I heard, that was very popular.  We just brought it back so that people could experience that again.”

Midnight Under the Moon is for everybody and anybody, and Varma encourages all students to go.

“Not everybody goes out Friday night, but if they want to do something, this is a good thing to do—it’s on campus, it’s near all the dorms and it’s just a fun time to be with people,” Varma said.  “There is going to be a DJ there, so it will be professional music, not one of us playing a random playlist.”

Varma also pointed out, “We don’t have a dress requirement, but we are recommending that you wear a semi-formal attire.”

Although the central focus of the event is to introduce international students to American culture, Varma noted that, “The international community is also there. So if you want to meet people, that’s an exciting place to do it.”

Ojha agrees that one of her favorite parts about this dance is the meshing of cultures.  She said that in the past, one of the student’s favorite parts was the DJ and open dance floor.

“From the international student’s side, they can request their favorite songs,” Ojha said.

Ojha further noted that at the Halloween dance, which functions the same purpose as the Valentine’s dance, international students brought their cultural music to the dance.

“The DJ was playing songs from different countries, and people were still enjoying it even though they did not understand the language,” Ojha said. “They were learning from each other.”

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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa
ISA brings Valentine’s dance