Indiana State University Newsroom

Fair-ly Connected: Carnival links Indiana State families to campus

October 7, 2013

As Indiana State University graduate students Arjun Baddam and Dilip Kaza sped to different activities during the carnival at Maehling Terrace, they saw their neighbors and friends playing games and eating food representing different cultures of many of the apartment complex residents.

The Indiana State University event was unlike most other programs - rather than expecting the apartment residents to travel to the main ISU campus, the campus came to them.

More than 200 people attended the inaugural carnival at Maehling Terrace, also known as the University Apartments complex located near U.S. 41 in Terre Haute, about a mile from Indiana State's downtown campus. The carnival featured music, food, clothing and accessories representing cultures from around the world in an event that was intended to provide family fun for students, along with family members who live with them in University Apartments, but who do not always have an opportunity to attend events on campus.

"The carnival was all about bringing people together," said Kaza, who is from India and pursuing his master's degree in electronics and computer technology. "That's what events are meant to do."

The carnival idea first came up in the summer, when some Indiana State students and staff members were considering activities for residents in University Apartments, a four building complex with nearly 400 units. Indiana State students from different countries rent apartments, and their families may not be able to participate in campus events intended for a traditional-aged college audience.

"Sometimes University Apartments residents never get an opportunity to be a part of programming on campus, so we wanted to take a program to them," said Zachariah Mathew, associate director of Indiana State's Center for Global Engagement. "Plus, there are a lot of students on campus who don't even realize that the University Apartments are a part of ISU, and that needs to be broken. The only way we can do that is host events there."

Groups wanted to do something to kick off the school year, while also creating an environment that would help to make the apartments feel more like home, said Alex Dresen, area director for University Apartments and Burford Hall. Many of the apartment residents are nontraditional students, including those with spouses and young children. The university's Early Childhood Education Center, which is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, is located at Maehling Terrace.

"We have students with families, we have students who are in their master or doctoral programs, some juniors and seniors, and international students all in the apartments," Dresen said. "It really is just a mix of people from all different walks of life, and just a different environment."

Members of the Saudi Student Association, Hispanic Student Association and Japanese Cultural Club had activities for carnival attendees. People could sample tea and food from Saudi Arabia, get their names written in Japanese and try on clothes from countries around the globe.

"We had a lot of games, from which they could learn many things, including languages, many cultures, and we many traditional practices," said Nagaraju Basavaraju, a graduate assistant in the Center for Global Engagement from India pursuing his master's degree in electronics and computer technology. "It was a platform for more interaction among people, not just for kids."

The carnival also helped promote university programming in general, as people who do not regularly attend events on campus can realize that they will enjoy events organized by university groups, Kaza said.

Organizers hope that the carnival becomes an annual event. They hope to do at least one major event each semester, Dresen said, along with adding smaller events through the year. The University Apartments hosted trick-or-treating and a Halloween party for children of Indiana State families last year, and they are looking to continue that tradition this fall.

"We barely engage them, so we wanted to make sure that they are very involved," Mathew said. "We wanted some programs there, on their turf, so they can realize that they also are a significant part of the ISU community."

Photo: (ISU/Rachel Keyes)Attendees at the University Apartments carnival participate in a tug-of-war. The carnival was an inaugural event for Indiana State students who live in the apartments. Many students in University Apartments have spouses and children, but they may not participate in events that take place on Indiana State's downtown Terre Haute campus.

Photo: (ISU/Rachel Keyes) Children playing during the University Apartments carnival.

Photo: (ISU/Rachel Keyes)A carnival attendee sits at an event table during the University Apartments carnival. Several student groups had tables that featured different foods and activities to teach people about cultures from around the world.

Contact: Zachariah Mathew, associate director, Center for Global Engagement, Indiana State University, 812-237-2439 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

More than 200 people attended the inaugural carnival at Maehling Terrace, also known as the University Apartments complex located near U.S. 41, about a mile from campus downtown. The event featured music, food and clothing from people around the world.

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