Brock Pakistani Student Association (BPSA) organized its first planned occasion on campus last year, Aja Nachlay, where it amassed campus-wide engagement with dance performances, Pakistani food and Urdu poetry. BUSU recognized the event at its annual awards with the Event of the Year Award for 2018-19.
BPSA returned this year with another unique event, Dastaan-e-Ishq, that took place on February 22 at Pond Inlet. The event celebrated a prevalent and unique art of qawwali by hosting one of the well-known qawwals in Ontario, Ustaad Shahid Ali Khan.
“We have been trying to bring this event to Brock since last September and due to logistics and budgetary [problems], we were unable to organize this any earlier. But I think this event has set a benchmark with its quality,” said Omer Gull, a BPSA executive.
According to the executive team, they had a challenging time picking sponsors for this event, as they wanted this event to be eccentric with Pakistani culture exclusively. The novel event was open to everyone and not limited to Brock students only. It is worth mentioning that the event attracted Pakistani students from other universities in Ontario and older adults from the broader Niagara region as well.
“When this idea was pitched initially in our executive meeting, the club was doubtful that the event [would] have an [easy] time attracting a healthy audience since qawwali is an acquired taste,” said Gull. “We took the challenge and took it BUSAC (Brock University Student Administrative Council) to approve our basic budget. The turnout is way more than we expected and we even [had more people] show up after the event was sold out.”
The sponsors of the event, Joani Indoor Décor and Vinyl Imprint, held a giveaway event through BPSA’s Instagram page prior to the event. Food was deliberately chosen to add to the night’s appeal and was brought in from Nihari Inn, a restaurant famous for Pakistani delicacies.
The executive team mentioned that they have another event coming up by the end of this academic year and they aspire to achieve the same level of engagement for that event.
“It’s important that we recognize the importance of cultural events on campus, especially for international students who face countless problems thousands of miles away from their home,” said Muizz Kazmi, president of the BPSA.
Omer Gull, a second-year Accounting major, further explained that he is enthusiastic about improving the quality of campus environment for the broader student population and wants to work with the university through multiple avenues to achieve that goal.
Any interested student staff or faculty interested in attending the BPSA event or meeting should follow the club’s page on Instagram @brockupsa or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.