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Buckeye Mela combines sport, dance for charity

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Sports and dance are activities not usually found in the same event, but at Buckeye Mela, they come together to celebrate South Asian culture.
“Buckeye Mela is essentially a weekend that we like to think celebrates South Asian culture at OSU,” said Rishab Bhardwaj, the president of the Indian Students Association and a third-year in accounting.
Buckeye Mela 6, which is organized by the Indian American Association and the Indian Students Association, will take place Friday and Saturday with different events throughout the weekend in order to raise money for charity.
“The main goal is to raise money, not only for our local community but we are trying to also raise money for various charities overseas,” said Nisha Arora, the president of the Indian American Association and a third-year in biology.
About 50 percent of the money raised will go to Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Research Center, and the remainder will be donated to Gandhigram Lakshmi Seva Sangam, a program in India that provides natural treatment and assistance to impoverished areas.
Buckeye Mela is comprised of three main events.
The sports tournament will start Friday and end Saturday. The cricket tournament will be at the Fred Beekman Park and the basketball, and soccer tournaments will be held at the RPAC and Adventure Recreation Center.
There will be a block party on Saturday at the RPAC pavilion, which Bhardwaj said will have free food, games and music for all OSU students.
Srujan, an intercollegiate dance competition, will take place Saturday night at the Capitol Theatre downtown.
South Asian dance teams from different universities around the area will come to compete for the grand prize of $3,000.
Arora said there will most likely be groups from Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee competing.
Buckeye Mela began in 2007 with the Indian American Association as a small culture show with a couple of sports tournaments.
The next year, the group joined forces with the Indian Students Association to establish Buckeye Mela as it is today.
Kunal Arora, an OSU alumnus and former president of the Indian American Association, said the idea for Buckeye Mela came because there were a lack of South Asian events in the Midwest.
“In the Midwest specifically, there wasn’t anyone doing anything to celebrate South Asian culture,” Kunal Arora said. “We decided we have a great school and a great place to host something like this.”
Last year, Buckeye Mela 5 raised about $8,000 and donated about $4,500 to the James Comprehensive Cancer Research Center and it has donated more than $18,000 to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank over the past five years.
Nisha Arora said the event is meant for everyone in the OSU community and neighboring universities.
“It’s an event that’s geared toward everyone, you don’t have to have a South Asian culture to come out and have a good time,” Nisha Arora said.
Tickets can be purchased for $16 to $35.

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