Defining and Enriching South-Asian Issues held their fourth session of the semester in the USC Asian Pacific American Student Services office in the Student Union, centered on the topic of love, on Friday. With a small group of students in attendance, the space was casual, yet provided an intimate space for a safe discussion.
At 5 p.m., everyone formed a circle while lounging on couches. The hosts offered snacks and drinks to those waiting for the talk to begin, though there was no actual chai tea, despite it being called “Chai and Chill.” Before beginning, the hosts wanted to ensure there were a few community guidelines kept in mind throughout the hour. They wanted to make clear to each attendee that it was a safe space and to “be intentional, for what you say, the words you use, impact the space you’re in.”
Two girls began the talk with the question of whether or not love exists. Answers varied on the topic of intimacy, sex, family, friends and community, with all different types of love displaying different meanings.
Additionally, the East and West have differences in love, especially in the familial sense, and students opened themselves up to discuss their true feelings on the way love varies. Topics ranged from arranged marriages to the depiction of love in popular Indian films to how being nurtured by family varies in contrasting ways. Common words that arose were “structure,” “tradition” and “communal.” What seemed to be a consensus from everyone in the room was that family and one’s community plays into an individual’s perspective on love, whether that is positive or negative, unintentional or not.
While most students had varying opinions, the conversation was honest and purposeful. Even on more serious topics, students felt they could open themselves up to engage in a powerful dialogue, boldly stating their beliefs. A sense of diversity was shown among these fellow USC students as they welcomed anyone to participate in this conversation on love.
For those interested in attending a chat hosted by USC Asian Pacific American Student Services, go on their Facebook page for more details on upcoming events.