Meet the South Asian Community at NYU

How I found my cultural community at NYU

A woman running through an underbridge.

 

Throughout my time as a digital ambassador, I’ve received numerous questions about the South Asian community here at NYU. Is there one? How does one get involved? What kinds of groups are on campus? Whether you appreciate South Asian culture, are South Asian yourself, or just want to learn something new, all the groups on campus are welcoming and fun. Sit tight, and let me answer your questions! Refer to my other article, “Finding My Community at NYU,” if you want to learn more. 

Note: Many of the organizations mentioned are listed at the end of the article with their Instagram handles.

Clubs and Organizations

Dancing Queen

Whether you’re into bhangra, hip-hop, or raas, you’ve come to the right place. Even if you’re new to dance and just want to learn, there are groups for you. 

As a first-year student, I was very nervous about making friends. But I wanted to try dance. I am not a good dancer. And I am definitely a beginner. Regardless, I wanted to join a dance group, so I tried out for NYU Nasha and NYU Khalbali. Nasha is an intermediate-to-expert dance group, while Khalbali is more intermediate. Unfortunately, I was not admitted to either team. However, during my sophomore year (we were home due to COVID-19), I tried out virtually for NYU Raas Malai and made the team. I am Gujarati, so it was really fun getting to learn the traditional dance forms and Garba. Although student-led clubs have yet to meet in person due to COVID-19 protocols, I can’t wait to be on campus and dance in person with Raas Malai!

 

NYU Raas Malai dance troupe on stage.
The Raas Malai performance at Monsoon 2020, hosted by NYU Shruti.

Social Experiences and Events

Greek Life

During the spring semester of my first year, I rushed the Delta Kappa Delta (DKD) Sorority. I loved that DKD is a South Asian Greek organization focused on volunteer work. Child abuse prevention and awareness is DKDʼs philanthropical focus. During the rushing process, my friend and I volunteered at the Association to Benefit Children. We entertained the children by helping them color, conducting recess, and much more. In another event, we made sandwiches for the local food bank.

In addition, becoming a part of the sisterhood felt so empowering. Moreover, because Delta Kappa Delta is a culturally focused sorority, it sits on the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). As a result, I have made many friends through DKD and MGC. Since my time here, we have held social events with both the NYU Kappas (an Asian-interest sorority) and Nu Alpha Phi (an Asian-interest fraternity). Even though the girls in the sorority are very academically driven, they don’t mind chilling and watching Bollywood movies together. 

Speaking of my sorority, one of my sisters actually has a podcast called Saree Not Sorry! Delta Kappa Delta sister Medha Gupta and her cohost Shreya Mathur dive deep into the experience of growing up as a South Asian person in the United States. Definitely go check it out! You can find them on Instagram at @sareenotsorrypodcast.

Whatʼs more, Delta Kappa Delta has a brother fraternity, Iota Nu Delta. However, the NYU chapter is now inactive. On the bright side, if you are interested in Greek fraternities, NYU has many others to choose from!

Three sorority girls taking a selfie.
My sisters (left) and me (right) at dinner.
A group of sorority girls taking a selfie.
Delta Kappa Delta sisters when we met up last semester!

Social Clubs

There are two main South Asian social clubs at NYU: the Indian Cultural Club (ICC) and the NYU South Asian Student Association (NYU Shruti).

The Indian Cultural Club is known for putting on many events such as Garba, Spring Bazaar, International Curry Night, Bollywood Bash, and movie nights! I went to Garba with ICC and had a lot of fun. Everyone was in ethnic clothes and there was a lot of dancing. First, half the night was Garba. Second, they had a DJ brought in so we could dance to some beats. As a result, trying to dance was funny because a lot of the girls were wearing lenghas and long skirts. Finally, if there werenʼt enough reasons already, they also served yummy Indian food!

NYU Shruti is most known for its Bollywood Nights, Monsoon cultural show, and Mr. Shruti Pageant. Monsoon is Shrutiʼs signature event, where they showcase many South Asian groups on campus. It features dancing numbers, acting performances, and all-around laughs. In addition, there are senior send-offs and class skits. Consequentially, Monsoon is so entertaining! Also, Shruti has Bollywood Nights during the semester, where students 18 and older can let loose and dance. Iʼve gone to a few Bollywood Nights and they can be fun dance parties. The DJ usually plays a mix of Indian and Western music. Furthermore, I recommend going with friends. Shruti also hosts Bollywood Nights with the South Asian student organization at Columbia University, where you can meet more college students in New York City.

Two girls in ethnic Indian wear.
My friend and me at Garba hosted by ICC.
Two girls standing next to each other.
My mentor and me after Monsoon 2020 (before COVID-19), hosted by NYU Shruti.

More Groups to Check Out!

If youʼre interested in any of these groups, definitely reach out to them and follow them on Instagram. Itʼs a great way to get involved and explore the community virtually. In addition, if you are in the city, some groups have special events that you can buy tickets to (even if youʼre not an NYU student)! Our community also includes religious groups and other smaller organizations. Whatever you may be looking for, there is a community for you. I hope this list is helpful for those looking for an Indian and/or South Asian culture and support group on campus!

Dancing Stars

  • Raas Malai (@nyu.raasmalai): Coed group featuring Raas-style and Gujurati dance forms.
  • Pandemonium (@nyupandemonium): All-male dance group, focused on Bollywood fusion.
  • Dillagi (@nyudillagi): Coed competitive Bollywood fusion dance group.
  • Khalbali (@nyu.khalbali): Female competitive dance troupe featuring Bollywood fusion.
  • Nasha (@nyunasha): Female competitive dance team who also does Bollywood fusion.
  • Asian Fusion Dance (@nyu.afd): Asian-fusion and Western styles of dance.

(South) Asian American Idol

  • NYU Masti (@nyumasti): Female a capella group. Bollywood-Western fusion.
  • NYU Raag City (@nyuraagcity): Male a capella group. Bollywood-Western fusion.
  • Vocollision (@nyuvocollision): Competitive a capella group focusing on Asian and Western styles.

Clubs and Organizations

  • MannMukti at NYU (@mannmuktinyu): Club focused on empowering South Asian students to talk about mental health.
  • South Asian Students Association (NYU Shruti) (@nyushruti): Club for South Asian culture, events, community organizations, and more!
  • Indian Cultural Club (@nyuicc): Club centered on Indian culture, events, and community support.
  • Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (@nyusase): Club targeted toward STEM-based individuals providing professional development opportunities.
  • All Asian Art Alliance (@allasianartalliance): Alliance of Asian-identifying artists.
  • Generasian (@nyugenerasian): NYU’s Asian American publication and multimedia platform.

Greek Life

Sororities

  • Delta Kappa Delta (@dkd.nyu): South Asian–interest (not exclusive) service sorority.
  • Alpha Kappa Delta Phi (@nyuakdphi): Asian-interest social sorority.
  • Sigma Psi Zeta (@nyusyz): Asian-interest social sorority.

Fraternities

  • Pi Delta Psi (@nyupdpsi): All-male Asian-interest social fraternity. 
  • Nu Alpha Phi (@nyunaphi): All-male Asian-interest social fraternity.