SASA: Keeping Traditions Alive

The 2021 student board of SASA.

By Alicia Malek, Academics Editor

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) Club held its first meeting last Tuesday, Sept. 14.

SASA, formerly known as Indo-Pak Club, has been around for so long that it is well-known in Chicago. Some of the current students’ parents even participated during their high school years.

“We changed our name to SASA last year because we wanted to be all inclusive and truly represent our club, our people, our members and really what it stands for,” senior president Ria Patel said.

It is an easy-going club where students can stay connected with and even learn more about their culture and others.

“SASA is one of those really great clubs where we just want to have students come by, hang out, talk to each other and kind of find a safe space to whatever issues they’re going through or just hang out with their friends,” sponsor Parin Patel said.

At SASA’s events, including the SASA barbeque, Garba Night, SASA Night and international night, members get together to have a great time. Some events also involve Niles North and other schools or universities outside of our district, showcasing a majority of South Asian cultures.

For senior vice president Divya Varkey, her favorite experience is participating in SASA Night. She enjoy expressing her culture through dance.

I was able to sing the Indian national anthem and dance with my friends,” said Varkey.

Continuing traditions is an important part of the club. They share cultural foods, clothing, music and dances during these events which they are looking forward to this year.

Being back in-person is very important for the club because it revolves around in-person interactions; the food, dances and interactions aren’t the same virtually. Members are thrilled that they can get back to creating these experiences.

“For SASA this year, I’m excited to have our big events that we didn’t get to do last year such as the barbeque, international night and SASA night,” senior and vice president Sarah Chirayil said.

Their first meeting was a success with about 70 students present, introducing a welcoming environment for new students and explaining plans for events in the future.

“I’m really proud of where we are at with SASA, and I hope that we continue having these amazing meetings and amazing people coming to our club,” Patel said.

In her eyes, SASA is a home for their cultures to thrive and provides an environment for members to understand and express themselves.