THE NEWS IN BRIEF: New South Asian Association Leaders Pledge To Focus on Fundraising, Community Involvement

Members of the South Asian Association (SAA) elected Alka R. Tandon ’07 and Arjun Vasan ’07 last Sunday as co-presidents for the 2005-06 year.

“We’re both very excited about our vision for next year—it’s a tremendous honor to be in this position,” said Vasan. The pair was elected in one of the first contested elections in the group’s recent history.

Issues discussed by the candidates included the future of SAA’s budget, which is larger than it has ever been, and the relationship between the umbrella group SAA and its seven sub-groups.

According to Tandon, the SAA has always provided guidance and financial assistance to its sub-groups for journal publications and advertising. But with the recent growth of these groups, most notably the South Asian Men’s Collective, miscommunications have been on the rise, said co-president emeritus Prital S. Kadakia ’06.

This prompted a call for a reevaluation of the SAA constitution, planned for next year, which will help clarify the relationship between the smaller groups and the general organization, Kadakia said.

One of the group’s most ambitious goals is to establish an alumni-sponsored endowment, with eventual hopes of funding a South Asian visiting professor chair, said Kadakia.

This would ensure that “someone is always there to teach about South Asian issues,” he said.

In addition to raising money from alumni, Kadakia spoke about the group’s involvement in the community, noting its $14,000 donation to UNICEF for the tsunami relief effort.

The SAA also aims to bring together the South Asian community from other schools in the Boston area, according to co-president emeritus Mridula S. Raman ’06, mentioning this year’s charity semi-formal co-hosted with other colleges.

The organization’s new leaders say they will host more intercollegiate activities next year.

Other newly-elected officers include Tilottama R. Sen ’07 as treasurer, Chiki E. Gupta ’08 as secretary, Rohan Kekre ’08 as Academic/Political Chair, Aditi Mallick ’08 as Cultural Chair, Mayuri N. Shah ’08 as Social Chair, Meghan Pasricha ’08 as Outreach Chair, Rohini Nair ’08 and Ravi K. Manglani ’08 as Publicity Chair, and Julie Goswami ’08 as Historian.