UNITED STATES, January 31,2013 (Yale Daily News): In an effort to help strengthen Hindu programming on campus, Asha Shipman joined the Chaplain's Office staff on Jan. 16 as the Yale's first Hindu life advisor.
The new 20-hour-per-week part-time position was created to support the increasing popularity of Hindu programs on campus, University Chaplain Sharon Kugler said. Shipman's primary responsibility will be to advise the Hindu Students Council, which has significantly expanded its presence on campus since its founding in 2005. Shipman said she plans to grow the Hindu programming on campus further by helping the HSC offer a more diverse selection of events.
"They haven't had someone help them consider programs beyond Diwali Pooja and the Gita studies and Holi, those have been their focus," Shipman said. "We're going to broaden out based on their interests, sort of an ethnographic adventure."
Last spring, administrators in the Chaplain's Office decided they wanted to hire a staff member who could dedicate more time to Hindu programs such as weekly prayer services and community gatherings as they grow in popularity, said Kugler. Attendance at HSC's annual Diwali ceremony has grown from roughly 50 students to over 400 students and community members over the past five years, Kugler said, adding that the Hindu events have become celebrations for non-Hindu as well as Hindu students.
Shipman, who received her doctorate in anthropology from the University of Connecticut in 2011, said her background in cultural education within the Hindu community -- such as serving on the Society Executive Committee of the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple and co-founding a Hindu Sunday school for children -- will be applicable in creating student programs on campus.