13 years ago
Uday Gurnani

Striking coins joined the familiar auditory assault of the Student Union’s pool-ball clacking and ping-pong smashing on March 24.

A carrom board, the latest addition to the Student Union (SU) even attracted pool sharks who decided to take a break from their cue sticks and sink carrom coins into board holes instead.

“After a long time I finally feel at home playing carrom. It’s a nice idea from the Student Union,” said Venkat Munukutla, a graduate student in computer science.

Freshman undeclared major Arundhati Kailasnath, a regular to the SU, is excited about the new carrom board, which has been placed under the stairway on the north side of the building.

“It’s fun. I hope many people come play it. It’s like pool except (that) it’s better,” Kailasnath said.

The origin of carrom is not certain, but the game is popular in the South Asian subcontinent and in some parts of Europe and Africa.

Motivated by UTD’s cultural diversity and the high percentage of students from these countries, Fahd Zaman, a student attendant at the SU, took the initiative to introduce carrom to the UTD campus.

Zaman, a junior electrical engineering major, created a petition to include the carrom board in the SU. More than 200 students signed the petition in a span of one and a half hours.

“With the (Student) Union now open 24 hours, new games like carrom would make it a more inviting place,” Zaman said.

Zaman took the petition to SU Coordinator Homer Salazar, who helped Zaman follow through with his plan.

Salazar said that student opinion is important, and new ideas are always welcome.

“The student’s wanted it, the idea was a good one, and the money was there so we went ahead with it,” Salazar said.

If the carrom board is successful, the SU may soon hold carrom tournaments, he said.

Salazar hopes to put out chess and checker sets soon, while Zaman has already started to work on his next petition – the installation of a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the SU.