2017 Executive Board

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Pranita Kaginele (left) and Gauthaman Veloo (right) are your 2017 Ashoka Presidents

“Ashoka has given me some of my best friends, allowed me to experience my culture away from home, and let me explore new parts of my own identity. I joined exec for a second year because I know how much Ashoka has done for me in my time at Wash U, and in order to give back to this community that has helped me grow so much, I hope to foster the potential I see in it as well, and pay it forward to the next generations of South Asian students at Wash U.” — Pranita Kaginele, Junior

“My first impression of WashU were through the eyes of Ashoka. When I was a freshman unaware of what to expect from the University that I was excited to be a part of, it was the upperclassmen that I met through Ashoka that gave me a sense of belonging in this time of uncertainty. They pushed me to test my limits because that would be the only way to discover what I am passionate about. They encouraged me to get more involved by letting their actions speak larger than their words. It gave me the individual confidence to participate in Diwali’s skit, join a fraternity, and meet new people to diversify my horizons and maximize my college experience. When I saw how passionate some of my closest friends are about this community and what it means to them it motivated me to make my best individual effort to give back. I joined Askoha Exec to foster this intimate sense of community and mobilize people to actively help each other become the best person they can possibly be. I believe being on Ashoka exec gives me the opportunity to help support, guide, and encourage people to achieve their goals and give back to the community that has made me who I am today.” — Gauthman Veloo, Junior

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Sharan Mohan (left) is the Vice President of External Affair, and Meghal Sheth (right) is the Vice President of Internal Affairs

“Ashoka has given me a supportive and vibrant community, inspiring role models, and my closest friends. I chose to be on the exec board again because I care and believe in this organization, its potential, and most of all, its members. I want to provide thought-provoking, creative, and meaningful events to an inclusive and loving community. Through Ashoka Exec I hope to give others what this organization has given me.” — Sharan Mohan, Sophomore

“Growing up without a huge South Asian community, I instantly gravitated towards the Ashoka community after coming to WashU. Being on exec has helped me play a part in showcasing all of the amazing aspects of South Asian culture and share that with a broader campus community! Ashoka also has given me an amazing sense of belonging and friendship.” — Meghal Sheth, Sophomore

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Sonya Ahuja (left) and Shayana Seneviratne (right) are the 2017 Social Chairs

I joined because I wanted to get more involved with the South Asian community and think social events are fun to plan!” — Sonya Ahuja, Freshman

“At home, I always lacked a strong south Asian community. Other than occasional trips back home to Sri Lanka, it’s been tough to find a group of people with similar values and visions. When I got to WashU, I was totally blown away by the immediate warmth and acceptance. From the start, I knew that I wanted to become more involved with Ashoka and help other incoming freshmen feel the same way I did.” — Shayana Seneviratne, Freshman

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Harkirat Anand (left) and Sumil Nair (right) are the co-Philanthropy and Social Awareness Chairs for 2017

“As a Sikh, growing up with uncut hair and a turban didn’t always attract the best attention. I fought many personal battles on the path to becoming confident in my identity, and I owe that primarily to the South Asian community I was raised in. It would take me a while to realize that all the potlucks, “aunty gossip”, and the random games that my South Asian friends and I played when we were bored gave me an everlasting sense of belonging. It was with these people that I didn’t constantly feel the need to restrict how I talked, or conform to what I thought would make me more “normal”. There were never any double takes when people in my community saw what I looked like. Nor was I treated differently. I was, unlike I had been made to believe anywhere else, just a kid. And while it was the similarities I shared with my South Asian community that made it my safe haven, it is the diversity in thought that continues to motivate me to give back to it. While many fall under the umbrella of being South Asian, there is a richness in knowing that everyone has their own stories and is informed by their culture in different ways. Through Ashoka, I want to revitalize the solidarity in the WashU South Asian community that helped me on my feet back home, and foster an environment of support and fun that make people proud of where they come from and who they are.” — Harkirat Anand, Freshman

“Ashoka gave me a home where I could grow and be myself the moment I came to college. Being a part of exec helps me be able to assist others in finding the cultural awareness and happiness Ashoka can give to its members and this is something I take great joy in.” — Sumil Nair, Freshman

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Anvita Devineni (left) and Suparna Malia (right) are the co-Cultural Chairs for 2017

“I want to be able to bring a sense of unity and belonging to South Asians across campus, and set an example through being inclusive and approachable as a member of exec. I also have the privilege of organizing Holi and Diwali, two of the biggest events on campus, so that’s pretty incredible.” — Anvita Devineni, Sophomore

“Ashoka has given me a home within a home on the campus of WashU, and after meeting people that have made such an impact on my life, I want to pass that on to those who want to experience the same! Also, Holi and Diwali are my two favorite things ever to be honest.” — Suparna Malia, Sophomore

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Smrithi Mani (left) and Anurima Sharma (right) are the co-Personal Relations Chairs for 2017

“Joining Ashoka has allowed me to get back in touch with my South Asian roots and has made me fall back in love with my culture. I’m excited to share more about South Asian culture with my friends and continue to build strong relationships with other amazing individuals in this community.” — Smrithi Mani, Sophomore

“I have always tried to express and embrace my South Asian Culture, but before Wash U I never felt as if my voice was being heard. I wanted to join a community where others embraced South Asian Culture along with me, and wanted to display it to the community. Participating in Diwali and being on the Ashoka Executive Board last year have shaped my college experience by introducing me to some of my closest friends, tuning me in to the struggles South Asians face globally, and making me feel as if I am a part of something bigger than myself. I am excited to serve on this executive board again and hope to help continue the growth of the South Asian Community at Wash U.” — Anurima Sharma, Sophomore

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Sean Chokshi is the 2017 Treasurer

“To hang with a solid crew, learn more about my heritage and culture, and give back to the organization that helped me meet some of my best friends at college.” — Sean Chokshi, Junior