South Asian Organizations at the Harvard Community

Harvard South Asian Association (SAA):

Since 1986, the Harvard South Asian Association has brought the Harvard community closer to South Asia and its Diaspora through academic, political, social, outreach, and cultural initiatives. With over 300 members spanning a myriad of ethnicities, religions, and interests, the South Asian Association (SAA) is one of the largest and most active student groups on Harvard’s campus, putting on over 100 different events each year to celebrate and foster awareness of South Asia! As part of our continued effort to promote understanding of South Asian academic and political issues, we have hosted numerous discussions with esteemed faculty members, public figures, business leaders, artists and authors on campus, while also working to expand the focus of South Asia in the undergraduate curriculum. Every year, we seek to bring members of SAA closer together through a variety of social events, including weekly community dinners and brunches, parties, and study breaks, allowing members to create friendships that will last long beyond their time at Harvard. Recognizing the unique role college students can play in development and community-building, SAA members serve communities within the Subcontinent and Diaspora by fundraising, interning with NGOs, and conducting other outreach efforts. 

Through high quality student-produced performances and dynamic workshops, SAA brings the culture of South Asia to Harvard. In fact, the hallmark of the year for SAA is its annual cultural show called Ghungroo. Without a doubt, Ghungroo is one of the largest and most widely acclaimed shows at Harvard. With over 300 Harvard undergraduates directing, producing and performing a wide variety of dances, musical selections, dramatic pieces and poetry inspired by the traditions of South Asia, Ghungroo conveys the strength, enthusiasm and energy of our members.

South Asian Women’s Collective (SAWC): 

The Harvard College South Asian Women’s Collective (SAWC) works to provide a cultural and social community for those interested in issues facing South Asian women and gender minorities, and to foster meaningful discussions, new friendships, and a sense of belonging and comfort on Harvard’s campus and beyond. SAWC plans a mix of academic-political, social and cultural events that are open to all students. 

Some highlights have been our Celebration of South Asian Women Gala, our Fall Teas and Community Dinners, our Karaoke Crush Event and the incredible SAWC community that endures even in the midst of a global pandemic. We increasingly strive to use our platform to support social justice causes, including the fight for Black liberation, discussions about ending sexual violence in our communities, and supporting vulnerable members of our spaces. Visit us at http://harvardcollegesawc.com to learn more about our organization and check out the photos below to see our group in action!

South Asian Men’s Collective (SAMC):

The South Asian Men’s Collective is an organization dedicated to the advancement and camaraderie of Brown men in Harvard College. Questioning identity comes in a lot of forms. Sometimes it manifests itself in weekly dinners debriefing our daily lives, sometimes it’s discussing our role as South Asians in advancing social justice, and sometimes it’s blacking out on a Wednesday in a Thai restaurant with a B health rating. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous for South Asian men. It’s what happens when you create a fraternity out of Goldman Sachs’ investment bankers. It provides the necessary emotional support and beer for students transitioning to college life. Across age, friend groups, and SAT scores SAMC bridges the gap for all brown men on campus.It’s the culmination of the dreams of our forefathers, who boldly strode into this country in pursuit of a better life. Brothers, join us in our pursuit of a brown tomorrow.

Pakistani Students Association (PSA):

The Harvard College Pakistani Students Association (HCPSA) hopes to serve as a bridge for the Pakistani community and diaspora on campus, as well as those seeking to learn about Pakistan, to connect with the country’s rich culture and history. HCPSA hosts a wide range of events, including Urdu Tables (speaking Urdu over snacks), study breaks, mixers with Pakistani snacks, discussions or informational sessions about relevant issues (e.g. Kashmir conflict), collaborative events with other organizations, and semesterly hallmark cultural showcase events which include food, performances (e.g. qawwali), and poetry. The club has been blossoming these past few years, with nearly 200 attendees at its largest events, and many of its board members are working to revive the Harvard Pakistan Forum later this August, which will feature illustrious Pakistani figures (e.g. federal ministers, academics) discussing Pakistan in the supremely relevant context of COVID-19.

Harvard Dharma:

Harvard Dharma is a community that brings together students identifying broadly with the Hindu or South Asian cultural experience. We host weekly meetings, during which community members have the opportunity to participate in a ritual prayer and reflection called aarti. Aarti is followed by discussion on current events or themes from the South Asian corpus of literature and thought, or activities that build community through art, music, and other activities! We also host a combination of large- and small-scale events. Large-scale events include Hungama, a traditional dance in honor of Navaratri, Diwali, a celebration of the Hindu new year, Holi (with a kabaddi tournament), a celebration of the arrival of spring, and Senior Tea, a celebration of graduating seniors who make Dharma a home to underclass students. Smaller events include regular study breaks, an annual first-year scavenger hunt, musical events, meditations, picnics, a temple trip during reading period each semester, jeopardy, interfaith mixers, spontaneous board game nights, and Secret Krishna, a holiday gift exchange, to name a few. Smaller Dharma “families” are tighter-knit social groups, and (platonic) Dharma “dates” allow for individual friendship and mentorship. Dharma is also engaged in service and advocacy efforts through regular shifts at the Y2Y homeless shelter, donation drives, and individual initiatives. Each and every student, regardless of background, religious affiliation, gender identity, or racial or ethnic identity, is welcome to and an important voice in our space and programming!

Link to website: www.dharmaharvard.org 

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/HarvardDharma/

Instagram: @harvarddharma

Email Address: harvarddharma@gmail.com

Some photos below!

South Asian Americans in Public Service Initiative (SAAPS):

The South Asian Americans in Public Service initiative, or SAAPS, has a vision: to inspire South Asian Americans of all backgrounds to meaningfully contribute to their communities and promote cultural and intellectual diversity through public service. The movement is the first of its kind, touching undergraduates across the nation.

What’s our driving exigence? The South Asian community is one of the fastest-growing major ethnic groups in the United States, but the views of its diaspora continue to be underrepresented across the nation. We’re working to change this reality by empowering individuals, uplifting voices, and cultivating the next generation of South Asian American leaders.

How do we seek to empower the next generation of South Asian leaders to overcome barriers and make positive change? Through a number of innovative initiatives, including our Speaker Series and our journal of political thought, Shakti. In everything we do, SAAPS shines a light on South Asian American voices – and empowers individuals to change the world.

HUII:

The Harvard US-India Initiative (HUII) was established with the goal of building long-term cooperation between the US and India in an effort to address some of the most pressing issues impacting India today. On Harvard’s campus, HUII organizes talks and campaigns to encourage dialogue and awareness about the political, cultural, economic, and social landscape of India. HUII furthermore hosts social events on campus to foster community among those hailing from and those with an interest in India. These conversations and events culminate in the annual HUII conference held in Mumbai, which provides a forum for college students and recent graduates to engage with trailblazers across industries about their experiences and ideas.


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