Penn Masala wants to aid the future of Penn’s performing arts community.
The a cappella group recently announced the establishment of the Penn Masala Alumni Scholarship, an alumni-endowed scholarship fund for both international and American Penn students interested in the performing arts.
The scholarship was first conceived about three years ago as a way for alumni to show their gratitude towards the group, and to give back to the performing arts community that supported them throughout their four years at Penn, Masala President and Wharton senior Dilip Rajan said in an email.
In a video promoting the scholarship, 2008 Wharton graduate Samir Sheth credited his Penn connections with his willingness to contribute to others. “It’s the power of building that connection at Penn that compels alumni like ourselves to give back individually ... or give back as a group,” he said.
Rajan also said that Penn Masala is the first student group to endow such a scholarship. The Mask and Wig Club announced an endowed scholarship of their own over the summer. However, Rajan said that Masala’s scholarship was endowed during Penn’s previous fiscal year, but was not publicized due to a prolonged collaboration between the Penn Alumni Relations Office and Penn Masala’s current and alumni members.
“[The] performing arts scene at Penn is a vibrant community and is often a large part of what defines the Penn experience for those involved,” Rajan said, adding that he hopes the scholarship will alleviate any financial burdens for students who wish to pursue their passion for the arts at Penn.
While Mask and Wig and Masala have created scholarship funds, their leaders hope the trend will spread throughout Penn’s performing arts community.
“In addition to further promoting the performing arts at Penn, I also hope this will encourage other groups to talk to their alumni about endowing similar scholarships,” Rajan said.
Founded at Penn in 1996, Penn Masala is now hailed as “the World’s First and Premier Hindi A Cappella Group,” according to their website. The all-male group has travelled to various college campuses, toured in India, performed at the White House and released full-length studio albums.
The a cappella group will be featured in the upcoming film, Pitch Perfect 2.
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