While a variety of campus organizations promote and strengthen diversity here in Ann Arbor, the concept is sometimes easier to talk about than to accomplish. It can be difficult to get ethnically diverse student groups to collaborate on events, a fact that has long frustrated many student leaders. But the truth of the matter is one group has been trying to promote that missing unity through the power of music: Komposit.
In 1997, original club members Nihar Kulkarni, Kumar Rao, Sam Eliad, Jason Yoon, Fun Cheung, Wil Hao, Willie Cho and Luke Bassis started a multi-ethnic entertainment group using hip-hop as a vehicle to breed cultural integration.
Six years of fun later, the organization will be closing down its operations for good. This Sunday at The Necto will mark Komposit’s final event. As the group members graduate, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the high level of quality expected from Komposit events. The closing party is therefore an opportunity for Komposit to not only extend thanks to all those who have made the group a success since its inception, but also to reflect on the greater diversity the group brought to campus.
“Most events on Campus in `97 were very segregated,” said club founder Kulkarni. “Komposit instead sought to create an event where everyone was represented and everyone would feel comfortable to have a good time.” Nihar also emphasized that Komposit never had any intention of making a large profit; it was the larger goals that really mattered. “For the first four years of existence, on the majority of events a profit was not realized and often time members gave out of pocket for expenses. But we did it for the love.”
Initially, the group’s DJs played a mix of hip-hop, R&B and Reggae. However, as the group’s popularity grew, so too did its musical tastes. As Kulkarni mentioned, “We expanded into dance music, specifically Chicago style house, which our DJ Ro (Roshan Patel) is a master at.” The diverse musical taste of the group’s DJs added to the atmosphere of diversity at Komposit parties, furthering the experience.
With this Sunday’s closing party, the group is both proud of their accomplishments and saddened to see the end of their vision. But Komposit’s members are confident that the group did make a difference over the course of its tenure. Said Kulkarni, “If at the end of the night (people) went back to their cultural social circles, but we educated even one person about another culture that they weren’t familiar with; if we spawned friendships that crossed racial boundaries, then we succeeded.”