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Nepali students on the Santa Fe campus organized a Holi celebration on the soccer field on Sunday, May 3, that raised $2,500 for victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated regions of their home country on April 25. Holi, a Hindu celebration of the beginning of spring, and the triumph of good over evil, takes place in March, but St. John’s usually holds its event later in the spring.

The timing presented the perfect opportunity to make the event into something more. Students and faculty made a donation to participate. A total of $500 was raised that afternoon, and was then matched by a donation from Student Polity. In the days since the event, an additional $1,500 has been gathered from donation boxes set around campus.

President and Mrs. Peters, as well as many tutors, were in attendance at Holi, but the main revelers throwing powered colors and soaking one another with water shooters were students. The festival of colors was followed by a Nepalese feast cooked by the main student organizers, sophomores Hitesh Sharma, Richa Lamsal, and Supriya Tamang. Ingredients were ordered from India and bought locally at the Ta Lin Market World Foodfare—and the cooks stayed up most of the night prior preparing the meal.

Ten Nepali students are current enrolled in the undergraduate program at St. John’s. Most of the students are from the area of Kathmandu. Although one of the student’s fathers was injured in the earthquake, everyone’s families are now safe. In a letter to the campus community, junior Alok Adhikari explained that research was underway to make sure the money raised goes to a local Nepali organization rather than an international charity or relief agency, and that they are specifically targeting the donation to groups working in quake-affected areas outside of Kathmandu, where help is most needed.