Conestoga’s School of Business celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights, on October 21. The event was held at the Kitchener - Doon campus and welcomed more than 200 students and employees.
Conestoga’s School of Business celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights, on October 21. The event welcomed more than 200 students and employees.
Organized by faculty members Dr. Rajul Singh, Shankha Bhattacharyya and Anela Tomac, the event aimed to provide students with the opportunity to celebrate the festival with the college community. For many international students from India, this was the first Diwali away from home. For others in attendance, it was a chance to learn more about the cultural and traditional significance of the festival.
The event also provided an example of how sustainability can be incorporated into college events. Planned in alignment with the School of Business’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) & Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) vision, sustainability was integrated throughout the planning period. Organizers identified relevant SDGs - Good Health & Wellbeing, Responsible Consumption & Production, Climate Action, and Partnerships - and incorporated them. Preparations, decorations, food arrangements, procurement and supplies followed the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle and the amount of waste generated was minimized as much as possible.
Following the traditional “Lighting of the Lamp” which signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil, participants played an interactive game, Diwali Insignia, which helped attendees understand the significance of Diwali and learn interesting facts about the festival.
“I was fortunate to grow up in several different countries across different continents. I grew up seeing firsthand the benefits of diversity and felt that this event gave me an opportunity to embrace and harness diversity within our college community,” said Tomac. “Embracing diversity and sustainability are crucial employability skills for our students and will be valuable for them as they enter the professional workforce.”
An eco-friendly rangoli competition followed (rangolis are art forms created as colorful patterns using organic materials like rice, sand or flower petals) with prizes and supplies donated by Hiway Flowers, Zehrs and Chartered Managers Canada. Attendees also enjoyed a selection of Indian sweets and snacks before the event finished.
“I had a wonderful time at the first Diwali event hosted by the School of Business,” said Anna Hohenadel, PRME coordinator for the School of Business. “There was a great turnout and many opportunities to learn about the significance of the festival. I was also impressed by the focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and the minimal waste aspect.”
In 2020, Conestoga’s School of Business joined the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). An initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, PRME is a collegial learning community that aims to raise the profile of sustainability in schools worldwide and equip business and management students with the skills and knowledge to handle the sustainability challenges of the future.
Conestoga was one of the first Canadian colleges to join the initiative. By leveraging PRME, Conestoga faculty and students have access to an international community and network of peers to connect their applied research and work to global issues.