Student Spotlights – In Conversation with Nithya Duddella, 9/16/2022

1) What issues are you passionate about and what actions have you taken?

I’m super passionate about environmentalism. It’s always been a goal of mine to do any small task while being conscious of how my actions affect Earth. I am a co-founder of the initiative EcoDharma, and we work to preserve the Earth through an Indic perspective. On the note of environmentalism, I’ve donated 500+ boxes and counting of eco-friendly feminine hygiene products to underdeveloped areas. I did this through organizing singing performances where people could pay to attend my concert for Carnatic-Indian Classical music, and all of the proceeds would be spent on buying more feminine hygiene products. I’ve been hosting in person, and now online music camps at orphanages in India every summer to teach Indian Classical music since I was 12. I am also a licensed meditation coach because mental health is super important to me. 

2) How does your identity and the issues you support play a role in your outlook on the world?

My parents came from a very religious and culturally rich village in south India that isn’t well known. I’m proud to be from that area. However, the village isn’t very economically rich. There are people struggling to get medical attention, poor people on the streets and a lot of orphanages. It gives me more to work to so someday, everyone in that village can get what they rightfully deserve. My grandparents have instilled ‘seva’, which means ‘service’ in Sanskrit. They serve at homeless shelters and host lunches and dinners at their house for anyone who is struggling to get a meal for the day. This is what motivated me to serve at homeless shelters and soup kitchens almost every week. 

3) What would you like to see change in the world we live? What do you aim to change by advocating for the topics that you speak out on?

I would like to see more people doing their part to actively combat littering and pollution. It doesn’t have to be major – just small steps each day from every person goes a long way. I’d also like to see less stigma surrounding feminine hygiene products. I’ve been passionate about this topic because this is heavily frowned upon in my culture, and it shouldn’t be.

4) If there’s one thing you want people to take away from reading this, what would it be?

I hope people can find things they’re passionate about to work towards. I hope to encourage people to be more conscious about their actions. Any small act of kindness can easily be turned into something bigger and better that will impact hundreds of more people.

Compiled by Josie Lorenz. Graphic by Allison Droege