Born in Ahmedabad, India, Shashwat Trivedi graduated from Cape Breton University with a Bachelor of Arts in May 2022. At the time, he had two choices – stay in Cape Breton or move to a bigger city. While both options had their benefits, Shashwat decided to stay on the Island where he had already developed great connections over the years.
“I was inclined to stay in Cape Breton because of the unique challenges and opportunities that are presented to you as part of the community here,” says Shashwat. “I made numerous connections while studying at CBU, and my connections with the Highland Arts Theatre and Lumiere Cape Breton especially made me want to stay. I look up to what local businesses and institutions such as CBU are trying to achieve for this beautiful Island,” he says.
Shashwat’s judgement paid off as he landed a job as the Communications and Social Media Specialist at CBU this fall. As part of the Strategic Communications and Events team, Shashwat will enhance CBU’s brand through content across various digital platforms. Part of his role also includes storytelling, which Shashwat says he greatly enjoys. “I look forward to telling the incredible stories that come from the CBU community while being part of it myself,” he says. “Cape Breton is on its way to prosperity and being part of CBU, which is at the forefront of this success, means the world to me.”
As October brings Shashwat through the middle of his first fall semester as a CBU employee, he also gets to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival celebrating light over darkness. For Shashwat, his connection with the festival has evolved over time from favouring sweets and firecrackers as a child to celebrating prosperity as an adult.
“In India, prosperity often manifests itself in the form of light and the Hindu festival of Diwali is all about lights and celebration,” he says. “My connection with Diwali is a special one as I have grown to love it in different ways throughout my life. As a young adult I started thinking of Diwali as the means of celebrating prosperity with my family and loved ones.”
Being thousands of miles away from his family hasn’t thwarted Shashwat’s Diwali celebrations. Shopping and decorations are central to his festivity plans, just as they would have been back home in India. “Back home, Diwali called for shopping sprees with my family and friends, lighting up every corner of our houses and welcoming guests with colourful Rangolis in the front yard,” he explains. “While I am away from my family here in Cape Breton, I maintain the staple festivities from home.”
Shashwat says it is important to recognize the cultural differences and similarities of all those who celebrate Diwali. “Something I wish people knew about Diwali is that it is a religious festival for Hindus. Hinduism is one amongst many religions followed in India,” he says. “While 94 per cent of the world’s Hindu population lives in India, many of my brothers and sisters are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and adherents of folk religions. This means they may or may not celebrate Diwali the same way I do. The beauty of festivities in India is that everyone celebrates everyone’s culture. Being in Cape Breton, I get to see the same confluence of cultures from across the world which makes it feel like home.”
Shashwat also advocates for an eco-friendly Diwali in Cape Breton. “I would also like to point out the importance of having an eco-friendly Diwali to anyone celebrating it. It may be hard for many to imagine the celebration of the Diwali festival going green and without firecrackers. While it may be tough, it is certainly attainable,” he says. As experts around the world warn of climate change and global warming, we should aim to have an eco-friendly celebration while being a part of this beautiful Island we all call home.”
We’re delighted to have Shashwat in the CBU family, and we’d like to wish him and everyone else celebrating a Happy and Prosperous Diwali!