Organization Spotlight: Indian Cultural Exchange

Mercer Indian Cultural Exchange was founded by Yogi Patel and became an approved student organization recognized by SGA on April 24, 2006.

They are known on campus and throughout the state as Mercer ICE. Their collective goal is to bind the Indian community at Mercer with the greater Macon area and with those interested in Indian culture by sharing their common Indian heritage, culture, language and values.

There is also a desire to exchange culture and educate the university as a whole via volunteer, social and cultural activities. While there are Indian Cultural Exchanges at other schools, the smaller size of this university allows for a more intimate setting and for students to be more involved in their clubs.

Prerana Patel, treasurer for ICE, has been a member for three years. She makes deposits, keeps a spreadsheet of earnings and spending and assists with fundraising and sponsorships. She has held different positions in her three years as a member.

Prerana said, “We are trying to open the doors to the public and help them understand our beliefs, invite them into our culture and the festivities that take place within it.”

In her three years, Prerana has seen the organization evolve with each event. She would definitely like to see more students get involved, and to see members become more active. “I would like the student body to come and experience the Indian culture, and I want them to know that it is not a club just for Indians but rather a club that wants to show the community the traditions we hold,” she said.

Amitra Patel, vice president of ICE, has been in the organization for two years. In efforts to have students become more involved with ICE, Amitra has set a goal of fundraising and creating more on-campus activities this semester to help students explore the Indian culture.

This is, in fact, the main purpose of the Indian Cultural Exchange Dinner. Amitra said, “I feel that by showcasing our ethnic foods we have brought something new to the campus in a tradition we would love to keep.”

This school year, ICE has been to nursing homes in the community to promote Indian culture, has participated in Habitat for Humanity and has visited local soup kitchens.

As Vice President Amitra devotes a lot of time in planning and effort, but in her words, “it is all worthwhile for what we are trying to accomplish.” Eventually she would like to see Indian Cultural Exchange become a major organization here at Mercer.

Having a larger membership pool and active members would help promote Indian culture while continuing community service and having fun.

Ultimately their goal is to have members of the organization who actually do not come from an Indian background but still show interest in the culture.

The message Amitra Patel wants to leave students with is simple: “ICE is a great organization and club for all students, whether you are Indian or not. We love community service and we love our culture.”

For more information about the club, students can contact Yogi Patel or visit orgs.