Story by Jessica Hirsch

Photos by Manish Rathaur (Class of 2017)

This past Tuesday, April 5, Darden hosted the inaugural “Best of Darden Talent” event to showcase the different talents and abilities of Darden students.

Outgoing president of the Darden Photography club, Shweta Sangani, organized the event as a means for students to express themselves and celebrate diversity at Darden.

“I felt that with the rigorous Darden academic environment and recruiting pressures, students can become stressed and they might not have an outlet to express their hobbies,” Sangani said. “I wanted to give students a platform to show their peers their talents and display some of Darden’s sub-cultures that students may not be aware of.”

The event took place in the Abbott Auditorium from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. It featured a wide array of performances including a traditional Indonesian music and dance presentation focused on unity and diversity, stand-up routines from two student comedians poking fun at a variety of topics, a guitar rendition of a classic Latin American tango piece celebrating spring, and many other fantastic displays of Darden student talent. The event culminated in an Indian-style dance performance in which many audience members participated by joining the performers on-stage.

“The event had a good mix of talents to showcase,” Sangani said. “It was initially hard to coordinate and get everyone on board, but I had a lot of support from my friends. I hope that the audience members saw a unique side of the Darden community.”

Darden has over 50 different student clubs, many of which are centered on various professional, cultural, athletic, and other interests, as well as seven student advisory groups which provide a forum to students to share their thoughts and ideas for improving the student experience. The several student organizations that helped bring the talent showcase together included the Darden Music Club and the Darden Photography Club, which has plans to transition to a combined photography and hobbies organization to give students the chance to explore a wider variety of passions.

Prior diversity-focused events include the inaugural Diversity Week which occurred this past October 26-29 consisting of five days of panels, events, and workshops exploring how diversity affects business in an effort to bring diversity-related issues to the forefront of discussion.

“There are already great initiatives happening at Darden,” Sangani said. “I’m working with my junior counterparts to plan similar events next year, so that current and prospective students can have a richer and deeper experience.”

Sachin Dixit (Class of 2017), incoming president of Darden Photography Club, echoed Sangani’s thoughts. “We plan to continue organizing this event in the coming year,” Sachin said. “With timely publicity and buy-in from more affinity clubs, we should be able to get even more students showcasing the diversity of Darden next year.”