The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 22, 1999 - 7
IASA to sponsor annual Midwestern
Indian American Conference
By Sarah Lewis
Daily Staff Reporter
* Activism and involvement within the
community will be two main themes of
the 1999 Midwestern Indian American
Students Conference scheduled for this
weekend as part of the University's
Martin Luther King Jr Symposium.
The Indian American Students
Association will'sponsor the third annu-
al midwestern conference, reflecting
the theme "Mission: Limitless."
An additional focus is "Finding your
assion: creating action through inter-
ttion," said Avani Sheth, LSA sopho-
more and conference co-coordinator.
"The vision is inspiring all Indian-
American students to get involved in
the issues that surround the commu-
nity," Sheth said, adding that the
point of the conference is not only to
educate but also to encourage stu-
dents to take a step toward activism.
"Passion is everyone's individual
Ativation," Sheth said.
° She added that activism includes
various aspects beyond the usual sit-
"It brings awareness no only on
issues that affect us, but issues that
affect soCiey"- Avani Sheth
ins and rallies.
MLK Symposium coordinator
Damon Williams said the conference
has great relevance to King's legacy
and the issues he supported.
"It's being sponsored by a group that
champions a lot of the ideas Dr. King
stood for: social struggles, societal
change, uplifting the community and
people that have been discriminated
against," Williams said.
On Saturday, community activist
Anju Bhargava is scheduled to give a
lunch keynote address on community
and coalition building and Minnesota
State Rep. Satveer Chaudhary is
scheduled to deliver a dinner address
on Indian-American activism.
Sheth explained that the confer-
ence is interactive in that it will cre-
ate an atmosphere where speakers
and students can meet each other.
They can "actually do something -
not just sit and listen," Sheth said.
In addition to the lectures, activities
will include various workshops and
small group sessions throughout the
The workshops will have a variety
of topics, including entrepreneurship;
community, Indian and campus
activism; race and legal issues; hate
crimes and media stereotypes.
"There's something for every stu-
dent there," Sheth said.
Sheth said the conference is open
to everyone. She said she expects
about 300 people to attend.
Sheth said the conference will help
to unite not only Indian American stu-
dents, but other people on campus as
well - especially minority groups.
"It brings awareness not only on
issues that affect us, but issues that
affect society," Sheth said. Active
involvement in these issues will
strengthen the community as a
whole, she said.
Williams said he agrees that the
conference incorporates more than
one community and encourages all
students to attend.
"Although the focus of the confer-
ence is directly pertinent to Indian
American students, we could all ben-
efit from going to events that aren't
necessarily targeted to our con-
stituencies," he said.
The conference is scheduled to
begin at noon today in the Michigan
Union's Pendelton Room and will
run through Sunday.
Interested students may register for
the conference online at IASA's web-
site, http//www umich.edu/-iasa/miasc.
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