Recreational Sports Center

A fire early Monday morning forced 32 residents to evacuate the Walnut Run apartment complex in North Campus. 

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Update (6:00 p.m.): The shelter provided by the Red Cross at the Recreational Sports Center officially shut down around 3:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon because no more students had come to utilize its services, according to volunteer Bob Stephens. 

Stephens said students affected by the fire had found temporary housing with friends or family, and Student Emergency Services made sure that the three students who checked into the shelter Monday morning had places to stay that night.

Original story: A fire at an apartment complex north of campus forced 32 residents, including students, to evacuate from their housing early Monday morning. 

According to Austin Fire Department spokeswoman Michelle Tanzola, the fire started in a second floor apartment around 2:30 a.m. Monday at the Walnut Run complex on 3202 Helms St. near Speedway and 32nd streets. 

A total of 18 apartment units were affected, and the fire was extinguished around 3 a.m. Firefighters evacuated both the main apartment complex and the two buildings next door.

Management graduate student Suho Han said he was in the apartment right below where the fire started. 

“I woke up around 2:30, and it sounded like popcorn popping, so I looked out the window..and [there was] fire on the roof of the balcony, and embers coming down” Han said. “I got up, put on my shorts...and grabbed my keys and my wallet. We got outside, and the fire was going up the wall.” 

According to Han, firefighters arrived on the scene fairly quickly.

“Once the fire department came, they told us to get across the street,” Han said. “It took about 20 minutes for the firefighters to put out the fire, but then it came back a little bit.”

Han said his apartment was severely damaged, but was told he might be able to go back later in the day and gather a few more of his belongings.

“It’s all trash now,” Han said. “I’m probably going to stay at my friend’s house until I can find somewhere else.” 

Students were evacuated to the Recreational Sports Center, where a temporary shelter was set up by the American Red Cross of Central Texas.  

Bob Stephens, one of the Red Cross volunteers. said the shelter was set up around 6 a.m. Monday morning. At press time, only 3 students were registered to stay at the shelter, but Stephens said more students are expected to come by tonight. Stephens said he expected most students would stay with friends or family. 

“We’re providing sleeping cots, blankets, a comfort kit with personal items, and snacks,” Stephens said. “The Rec Center is providing access to showers.”

Stephens said the shelter is expected to remain open for as long as it is needed by students.

Christa Lopez, Student Emergency Services associate director, said her organization is working to provide emergency funds and other basic necessities for students affected by the fire.

No one was injured, and the cause of the fire is still unknown.

Junior Anish Nagar demonstrates how to dance a traditional Indian Jhoom at the Recreational Sports Center Wednesday evening. The dance clinic was hosted by the Indian Culutral Association.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

The rhythmic sounds of Indian pop music and dance filled the Recreational Sports Center on Tuesday evening as part of the Indian Cultural Association’s Jhoom dance clinic.

The clinic featured choreography by two nationally ranked dance teams, Texas Mohini and Texas Bhangra. Each team demonstrated its unique style, which included a Bollywood fusion routine taught by two of four Texas Mohini captains and a traditional bhangra dance taught by the two captains of Texas Bhangra. 

“Bollywood refers to the movie industry of India,” organization president Dhruv Goel said. “Texas Mohini tries to promote the Bollywood culture, while Texas Bhangra is more traditional. They’re very distinct dance styles.”

Rashi Agrawal, co-captain of Texas Mohini, said the Bollywood style is characterized by festive melodies and peppy, up-beat hip movements. 

“Mohini incorporates a variety of dance styles. Each girl [on our team] comes from different dance backgrounds. It’s very open to collaboration and creativity,” Agrawal said.

Bhangra is slightly more energetic, incorporating jumps and simultaneous movement of the hands and feet. 

“[In Bhangra] you’re going to be dancing and throwing your hands up in the air,” Rahul Nowlakha, the organization’s vice president, said. “It’s very energetic. You’ll definitely work up a sweat.”

The event is part of the Indian Cultural Association’s efforts to spread Indian cultural awareness. Indian dance clinics, also known as Jhoom, provide a forum for direct and lively participation within a major facet of Indian culture.

“A lot of people don’t know a lot about Indian culture,” said Suruchi Avasthi, membership coordinator for the association. “If we try to make an event super fun like a dance clinic, they get to learn about it and get to interact with us and actively experience the culture.”

The association is frequently hosting events that bring Indian culture to the University. On Feb. 27, the association will sell Indian food at the West Mall as part of their monthly event called Rasoi - an Indian Kitchen. All students are encouraged to attend. 

Printed on Thursday, February 21, 2013 as: Not the Harlem Shake