Campus Conversations

This past Friday, students celebrated Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, an event organized by AIKYA. “AIKYA comes from a Sanskrit word which means ‘unity,'” explained Fouzia Khan ’04, the chair of AIKYA. “It’s the Hindu New Year to welcome the goddess Lakshmi.”

“I was really happy that for the first time we held a Hindu religious ceremony for Diwali,” said Ajanta Patel ’05, vice-chair of AIKYA. “Being student-run, it was definitely interesting, but I’m glad we pooled our knowledge and effort and made it happen.”

After Pooja, the religious ceremony, there was a dance performance by Aparna Nancherla ’05E, Treasurer of AIKYA. “I performed to a song from a Hindi movie, more of a historical documentary,” she said. “It was kind of a folk song and I wore a folk dress-a short blouse and a midriff, a skirt, a long piece of cloth covering my stomach.”

Traditional food was served at dinner. “We had traditional Diwali desserts like Kheer which is like rice pudding, carrot halwa and coconut halwa, which is our version of rich flourless cakes and sort of pudding and dry desserts with cream and butter and sugar,” Khan explained.

Diwali was truly a night to remember. “I definitely place this event on AIKYA’s success list,” said Patel. “I think Diwali is an event people come to year after year, and we had a great deal of positive feedback from everyone. The venue, decorations and, above all, food were all a step up from last year.”

Set theory

You’ve seen the posters all over campus. Featuring an array of cards, each adorned with squiggles, diamonds and ovals, they advertised last night’s Set tournament, sponsored by the Amherst chapter of the Mathematical Association of America and by Set Enterprises, which produces the game.

The genesis of the tournament was far from straightforward, as Carl Angiolillo ’04, the tournament’s organizer, explained. “I was missing two cards from my Set deck,” Angiolillo said. “So I wrote a letter to the company and I asked them a lot of questions, like about scoring methods and having them sponsor a tournament.”

After hearing back from Marcia Falco, the game’s designer, Angiolillo put together a tournament with prizes paid for by Set Enterprises.

“The posters were pretty cool,” said Angiolillo. “I made them with Photoshop and the help of David Van Brink, who works at Apple.”

Over a dozen Set players came to the tournament, including Mike Stevens ’03. “It was an exciting idea,” said Stevens. “I’ve been playing since high school, but it’s always been just for fun.”

Set is a card game, in which players compete to recognize patterns, colors, shapes and numbers. The tournament began at 8:00 p.m., after an hour of practice and training. Angiolillo planned the tournament to last an hour or two. “But we’ll keep playing until people are ready to go home,” he said at the outset of the night.