The Asian American Student Association holds 11th annual Winter Ball

AASA ends the semester with Winter Ball

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Tenzin Jinpa/AASA

By Sarah Yi, Collegian Staff

The Asian American Student Association (AASA) at the University of Massachusetts held its 11th annual Winter Ball event on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Winter Ball is an end of the semester celebration for AASA members.

Manju Kannan, sophomore operations and information management and IT major, is this year’s AASA social coordinator. The role entails creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for the general body by hosting small, intimate events throughout the year.

“Some of my events include our bi-annual ‘New Member Hangout’ geared towards newer members seeking to socialize, and ‘Late Night Berk,’ a chance to grab a bite with friends and possibly make new ones,” Kannan said.

Kannan has been involved in AASA since her freshman year, as a general body member and served on the e-board since spring 2022. “My time as both general body and e-board has been so rewarding in that I’ve gained so many connections, friendships and leadership skills on campus,” Kannan said.

Shadnan Asraf, a freshman biology major and assistant activities coordinator, helps the coordinators with event planning and logistics. “The Winter Ball is AASA’s biggest annual fall semester event,” Asraf said. “It is a formal event with food, performances, a dance floor and photobooths.”

President Gabrielle Dieu, a senior public health major, said that she works with every member on the e-board to ensure that timelines are on track. In addition, Dieu ensures that all events line up with the mission statement.

Dieu said that AASA is an organization that strives to amplify and advocate for Asian and Asian American voices at UMass. “Through providing a safe space for students of all backgrounds, we aim to plan events and activities that allow students to learn about other cultures,” Dieu said.

“Through AASA, we hope to create a community where students feel comfortable to reclaim their identity as Asian/Asian Americans in a constantly changing school/work landscape,” she said.

Kannan thinks that the engagement and supportiveness of the general body members made the event successful. “This is an event that many of us anticipate for the whole semester, and we are so grateful for our friends and community for coming out and spending time with us, as so much effort goes into planning this night,” Kannan said.

Asraf said that the Winter Ball has such high demand because of the amount of time and effort put into the event. “This is our most hyped event of the semester and AASA goes all out to make sure that it is a night for everyone to remember,” Asraf said. “There are beautiful decorations, delicious food, music, performances and much more.”

Junior nursing major and events coordinator Chris Tran said that AASA creates close connections between members. Doors open an hour before the official event time, allowing attendees to settle in, take pictures and put coats away.

“Food follows shortly after, with this year’s food being catered by Ginger Garden, a local restaurant that serves Pan-Asian cuisine,” Tran said. “Afterward, to introduce the show, we dim the lights, play our promotional video and our MCs take the stage to introduce our performances.”

“The show then begins with performances from varying acts, with this year’s being Jazba, DBJ, Vocal Suspects, and Altitude’s 5: Dirty Crew,” Tran said.

And when the performances end, it is time for the dance portion. “Guests are free to also utilize a photo booth to get their photos printed while tearing up the dance floor,” Tran said.

Kannan said that they are so grateful for the many events AASA has been able to host this year for the UMass community and hope to come back next semester with the same energy.

“Even though Winter Ball is over, I encourage members to keep up with our socials,” Kannan said. “We have a few more events coming up before the fall semester is completely done.”

Sarah Yi can be reached at [email protected]