Founded in the early 1990s, the South Asian Student Association has since been proud to celebrate their culture together as an Ethnic Student Center club. Each year ESC clubs host annual heritage dinners, and this year SASA has quite the agenda lined up for its dinner on March 1 in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room. Only $10 for students and $12 for non-students will give attendees admission to a three-course meal, fashion show, live performances and a dance.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with the first performance beginning at 6 p.m. Three performances will showcase two University of Washington dance groups - Bahani Bollywood and Ghandia - and a South Asian acapella group. These performances compliment several of SASA’ s own presentations, including the fashion show.

“It’s fun because we get to celebrate our own culture,” said Nardeep Kaur, SASA’ s steering committee representative.

The fashion show will showcase various regions in South Asia, such as Afghanistan, North India, South India, Nepal, Calcutta and Pakistan with attire worn by men and women.

“Previous years we have focused on mainstream Indian culture, but this year we are trying to branch out to different regions of South Asia,” said SASA events coordinator Bahara Naimzadeth. In addition to the fashion show and presentations professor in the Department of Biology, Anu Singh-Cundy, will deliver a keynote address.

While the entertainment at the heritage dinner is exciting and perhaps even something that attendees may have never witnessed before, there is also the meal that consists of an array of South Asian cuisine.
SASA is working with Aramark’s University Catering on the menu. An Afghan appetizer, known as Bolani, will start out the dinner. Bolani is fried bread, potatoes, green onions and spices and will be served with green chutney.

The main entrée will be a mix of chicken jalfrezi - which is an Indian and Pakistani dish - along with Shahiadi - a creamy tomato-based dish with Indian cheese paneed. They will also have Shahi paneer with rice and naan, a South Asian bread. Ending the dinner is golab jamun, deep-fried balls of dough with syrup.

In addition to the performances, dance and food, a silent auction will take place to fundraise for the Afghan Child Project. The organization provides shelter, clothes, schools and medical care for children in Afghanistan. It’s been part of SASA’ s mission to focus on working with this non-profit. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the Afghan Child Project. Naimzadeth encourages those interested in South Asian culture to attend the event, regardless of whether or not they are from South Asia. 

“We love diversity in our club,” she said

SASA has been working on planning this event since the beginning of the academic school year.

“We’ve put a lot of effort in it, so it will be nice to see it come to light,” Kaur said.

Club President Anu Heera emphasized that while the dinner is a night of entertainment and fun, it is also an educational experience for the community.

“All of us are working hard to make this not only fun to go to, but we really want people to take away a piece of South Asia, understand our culture, roots and where we come from,” Heera said.

It’s encouraged to dress in cultural clothes or semi-formal. Tickets can be purchased at Western’s box office and last year sold out with a 250 person capacity.

“I think it is definitely one of the highlights of our year,” Naimzadeth said.