The dim glow from Chinese lanterns reflected off colorful Indian jewelry and festive Vietnamese dresses called áo dài.
The Asian Student Association (ASA) and South Asian Student Association (SASA) came together to host the annual event, Flavors of Asia, this past Saturday in the Oak Room of the BCC.
The goal of the event is to bring the Asian culture to Fairfield University, explained Rafique Vahora’13. Vahora joined SASA in his freshmen year, the very first year of the event. As a senior, he has seen SASA and Flavors of Asia grow. “This was the best one yet,” exclaimed Vahora of the annual event.
Senior Ren Jiang says the success of the event was due to the growth of members in both clubs. As President of ASA and a member all four years, Jiang said the membership this year was the highest for ASA.
Jiang speculated that this had to do with the “school opening up more to minorities.” Along with the greater enrollment, the group philosophy of ASA and SASA also warranted the success of this year’s event.
Jiang explained that the club not only plans events, but also tries to form deep bonds between all members. The ASA meetings seek to connect minorities in a majority white school. The members enjoy group excursions to New York and other team building events in order to facilitate better teamwork.
And these relationships also push the boundaries of both ASA and SASA. Sohail Sumra’15 is vice president of SASA and was a board member of ASA last year. Sumra agrees that the connections they build as a community made Flavors of Asia possible.
The Fairfield University community enjoyed the benefits of the tight community through the multifaceted festival. Along with the food from various Asian countries, there were also two dance performances from both SASA and ASA, a DJ the whole night and a fashion show of traditional outfits from various Asian countries.
The food was powerful and authentic. This cultural aspect was also one of the main reasons students like Brittany Kritis’16 attended the event. Sodexo provided one third of the food, but the rest was brought in by SASA. The reason SASA was able to bring in their own dishes was because of religious reasons regarding the food preparation. The food must be prepared in accordance to Shariah Law (Islamic law) in order for the meal to be Halal, which means “permitted” in Arabic.
Freshman Dianna Bosh said she attended the event because of her natural curiosity of different cultures. Bosh believes curiosity about other cultures is important. “The more you are knowledgeable about other cultures the more open you will be to people, ideas and traditions,” she said.
This year’s Flavors of Asia will go down in the record books as one of the largest. Although the groups faced challenges such as Hurricane Sandy, and competing events such as the Men’s basketball game, there was a great turnout. Close to 300 tickets were purchased compared to last year’s 250 tickets.
At the end of the event, after all the beautiful gowns and outfits were showcased, Vahora stopped to reflect on his four years as a SASA member. And after such an outstanding event, Vahora only had one piece of advice to the members of SASA and ASA: “Keep up the great work.”