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Alumni Newsletter ~ September 2020

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Our Vision for SAA & Message to Alumni

The South Asian community has meant so much to the both of us during our time at Harvard. From painting the Ghungroo set to eating dosas at Browntown Brunch to deep discussions at Chai and Chaats to walking down the runway at Andaaz, SAA has given us a community and memories that we will cherish for life. This year, with an unprecedented virtual semester, we hope to continue building a community that is both welcoming and inclusive to all class years. 

We hope to achieve this by reformatting all of our events to fit a virtual platform, expanding on our asynchronous programming (Big Sib Little Sibs, SAA dates, Coffee Chats with Alumni, Sunday Sunsets, and Community Spotlights), increasing collaboration with other cultural affinity groups and other South Asian orgs (through our new South Asian council), and creating more opportunities for current students and alumni to get involved in the planning process by increasing our Board’s transparency and accessibility to our community members.

Our goal this year is to create an inclusive and welcoming community that is able to meet the political, cultural, academic, and social needs of students who are interested in the region of South Asia and the South Asian diaspora, and we can’t wait to explore that more in a virtual setting!

Last but not least, we would like to thank our alumni. SAA would be nowhere near where it is today without you all. You all have shaped SAA into the community that we know and love today. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for this family. If you have any questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at We look forward to a special year together! Stay safe and be well.

Fariba & Arjun


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Year in Review: 2019-2020
Recap of Cultural Events

Andaaz is our annual South Asian fashion show, and brings our community together for the first large event of the fall semester. This year, we had performances, delicious food, and showcases of beautiful south asian clothing and artwork. Andaaz was a true celebration of the vibrancy of our community!  We also had Browntown Brunches that were scattered throughout the year with food that ranged from Dosas to Naan and Paneer. These were more low-key ways to meet new people and hangout with old friends! And of course, our Big Sib/Little Sib program was an incredible way for underclassmen and upperclassmen to get to know each other. As one of the best parts of this community,  this program has fostered so many strong and long-lasting friendships!
Recap of Academic & Political Events

The Academic/Political Committee created and implemented several initiatives over the past year, including hosting several academic discussions, particularly that surrounding the Kashmir Issue with Professors Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, as well as several community Chai and Cha(a)t discussions on topics such as “What it means to be South Asian” and “Dating in the South Asian Community.” We also created a comprehensible list of class recommendations with advice from juniors and seniors to help with the often daunting shopping period and class selection process. In February of this past year, we helped in organizing the South Asian Youth Initiative Conference as a forum for activism, discussion, and solidarity. We are currently having a South Asian Book Club which meets weekly to appreciate the history of our literature and understand the writings of authors from the diaspora! The book club will span thirteen weeks and also bring in authors to speak about their work and diverse perspectives.
Recap of Social Events

The past year’s social chairs created a fun and full year of social events that helped bring the SAA community closer than ever. Some of these events included InSAAnity to kick off the new school year, Ghungroo After Party to celebrate the conclusion of the largest student run production on campus, and study breaks to facilitate community building and closer connections. Here are a few pictures for these events, and this year’s social chairs are looking forward to putting on these events and more this upcoming year in a virtual format!
Recap of Service Events

This year SAA engaged with our greater Boston community through organizations like Saheli, that protects women from domestic violence, and the Alzheimer’s Association. We formed a team to attend the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, baked cookies for Y2Y, and held a mental health workshop with Saheli. Through some of the largest programming on campus, like Ghungroo and Andaaz, we also fundraised for Saheli. Finally, after going remote during COVID-19, we held our first virtual fundraiser SAADares to support healthcare workers through the CDC Foundation.
Recap of Ghungroo!

This year SAA helped to produce another incredible year of Ghungroo and wanted to thank everyone who helped out for making the show amazing! We were lucky to sell out all our shows and also be one the last major events on campus to occur before the COVID cancellations. After our Saturday matinee show, we also put together a reception and were thrilled to allow parents and SAA alumni to come together to celebrate Ghungroo!
Recap of Our Quarantine Initiatives

This year has been unprecedented and unexpected in many ways with a global pandemic that forced us off campus earlier than expected. We are grateful to have such a strong community that has really come together over these past couple of months. After getting notice that we would have to leave campus early, we were able to plan an impromptu Senior Dinner for the Class of 2020, have virtual SAA dates, create SAA Care Packages, fundraise for the CDC foundation through SAA dares, virtual watch parties and host a Virtual South Asian Graduation with guest speakers Poorna Jagannathan and Rushi Kota. These events were only possible because of the strong community and individuals that make up SAA that came together to make these events possible. We are eternally grateful for our SAA family.  
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