On Thursday, March 8, the South Asian Cultural Club (SACC) hosted its annual Spring Banquet at the Palace Theatre. Nearly 300 students, faculty, administrators and other guests took part in the pair of performances, the theme of which revolved around the depiction of a raucous South Asian election.
With the Palace decorated to give the look of a festive South Asian political setting, and food provided by Sahota Palace, the audience was treated to an afternoon and evening full of entertainment and surprises. From the cliffhanger results of the election to celebrity appearances to a dance and a string of comical vignettes, there was effusive praise all around from many of the onlookers.
“It was a fun way to become culturally informed,” senior Annie Norcia said.”There was comedy, dance and curry, but there were also larger issues being tackled, likethe nature of the political system in Southeast Asiaand the way in which leaders campaignand voter support isgarnered.”
Following last year’s successful Bollywood Filmfare Awards show and the graduation of several key members, SACC had to regroup and put together a new event that would continue to please the audience. As the club prides itself on its mission statement of spreading the wealth of South Asian culture and knowledge to the Colgate student body and Hamilton community, this year’s banquet accomplished many of the goals it set out to achieve.
“I think the banquet did show a great balance between humor and education,” club president senior Kashif Ahmed said. “We made it a point to show similarities and differences between the politics in South Asia as compared to the U.S., while simultaneously entertaining the crowd. Having an ending where coalition politics would be the deciding factor definitely shows this point.”
For twelve seniors, this year’s banquet was a bittersweet moment as it not only marked a cause for celebration of hard work that began last semester, but it also represented the final time this core group would be together putting on a performance like this one.
“Hopefully the banquets during our last four years have shown the versatile nature of our club, allowing us to explore a variety of themes relative to South Asia,” Ahmed said. “We’re also a very diverse club and I want to take this opportunity to urge people to join and have some great experiences here at Colgate.”
At the same time, the banquet provided an opportunity for some of the club’s younger members to take initiative and become heavily involved. For instance, two of the candidates – Natalie Rose and Kunal Shetty – are first-years, while one of the emcees – Safwan Shabab – is a sophomore.
In years past, the club has donated the proceeds from ticket sales to philanthropic foundations working to provide humanitarian relief in response to the recent natural disasters afflicting South Asia. This year, however, SACC decided to go in a different direction by allocating the funds raised by the banquet to Nepalese non-profit organization Educate the Children. By providing educational and developmental opportunities for children and women, the organization enables the lower classes of Nepalese society to gain new skills and improve their lives.
“We chose this charity because it was in a country that we’ve never donated to before and it appealed to us because of its commitment in bettering the lives of women and children, who are often times the most ignored or silenced,” first-year Pooh Suwanrut said. “This charity encompasses all theideals that the SACC highly values, including education, life skills and developmental opportunities.”