South Asian Affinity Group Assembly showcases traditional, modern culture

Oliver Ruhl, Copy Editor

SJS students gathered in the VST, Jan. 22, only to be transported to a South Asian fashion show and what seemed like a scene out of a Bollywood movie.

This year’s semi-annual South Asian Affinity Group (SAAG) assembly combined both traditional dance and readings from South Asian culture with more modern cultural fads. Sophomore Suman Atluri opened the chapel with a classical Indian dance, a contrast to the more modern fashion show that followed soon after.

“The fashion show combines both the familiar sari with new, more fashionable tunics,” senior SAAG president Alezeh Rauf said.

Rehearsals for the Bollywood dance number were not without difficulties.

“The hard part about practices was that we never had everyone there until the very last practice,”  junior Shehzad Charania said.

Junior Meghna Dara introduced speaker Renu Khator, the president of The University of Houston. Khator spoke of her journey from rural India to the United States, following her dream to pursue the highest level of education she could receive. Khator told students of her arranged marriage, her innovations to the University of Houston and her struggle to adapt to life in America.

“I had to write eight drafts every time I wrote a paper for one of my classes,” Khator said.

Khator focused on a single idea, the importance of dreaming big.

“The most important lesson I’ve learned in my life is to always have a dream,” said Khator amidst a number of other life lessons. “Even if people think you’re crazy or that your dream is too big, never give up on it.”

**Correction to Video Credits: Suman Atluri, not Suman Alturi