SASA Dinner amazes for the 48th year

Caroline Buck, Staff Writer

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) hosted its 48th Annual SASA Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Larison Dining Hall. SASA is a club that celebrates South Asian culture to promote awareness and diversity on campus. Event planning for the dinner began in early September; SASA members were responsible for preparing the menu, ordering all of the food, designing the program and running the events of the night.

While tickets were on sale for the dinner a couple of weeks in advance, all remaining tickets sold out at the door Saturday evening. Members of SASA transformed Larison Dining Hall into an intricately decorated performance hall, complete with a red carpet.

This year’s theme was “SASA’s Got Talent,” a variety show where members could show off their many different talents. Members began prepping their talents early in the semester to ensure their very best performances and rehearsed their acts every night in the week leading up to the event. The show featured talents from stand-up comedy to spoken word to dance.

Before each performance, members of SASA gave a brief description of the upcoming act — whether that be an explanation of stand-up comedy in South Asia or music in Afghanistan — to give the audience more insight about South Asian culture and allow for the audience to have a better understanding of the performers’ passion for their talent. Halfway through the night, the audience was invited onstage for a lesson on traditional Indian dance. 

For many attendees, the highlight of the night was the food. Dinner consisted of food from many different South Asian nations, giving attendees a taste of South Asian cultural cuisine. “Our members love seeing their friends get excited about eating Indian food and listening to Bollywood music for a night,” SASA president Soni Madnani ’20 said.

Following dinner, talent acts picked up again. All of SASA’s members came together for one final dance in the last act of the night. Performances of many different categories, such as Best Solo Dance and Best Song, were awarded as the winners of “SASA’s Got Talent,” and all of SASA’s seniors were recognized with flowers.

Avani Chopra ’20 explained how important the event, and SASA in general, is to its members.“SASA is a community — one that students often don’t think that they’ll find in rural Pennsylvania — so it’s really special when you get to see the group grow close throughout the whole process of planning this dinner,” Chopra said.

Before the doors opened on Saturday night, the members of SASA created a “rainstorm.” Sitting in a circle, one by one everyone rubbed their hands, then began to snap, then transformed into loud drumming on the floor, creating a powerful rainstorm. “This energy stayed with us throughout the night,” Chopra said.

Attendees deemed the night a success, creating lasting memories for members of SASA and all of its attendees. “Everything was so beautiful. The performances, the energy, the food. I felt so happy to experience South Asian culture and I was so impressed by all the students. I will definitely be going every year,” Lily Baker ’22 said.

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