SAAG Club: Introducing and Connecting Students to South Asian Culture


Pictured above: Sahithi Pogula, Harini Thatigutla, and Evanya Matheur (respectively).

Anjali Meruva, Staff Reporter

The South Asian Affinity Group (SAAG) is led by senior Harini Thatigutla and junior Evanya Mathur. Although the club has been running for several years now, it has recently been expanding. 

Due to COVID, SAAG has not met regularly for the past few years. Now that most of the school is back on its feet, meetings take place every other Tuesday in Mr. Wilander’s room from 2:30 – 3:15 PM. 

Mathur explained how there is a rapidly growing South Asian population in Hopkinton, making it important for students to have an environment where they can discuss topics not everyone would understand. 

“I fostered a great relationship with the president of the club the previous year and fell in love with the motive of the club, so I decided I wanted to become a club leader myself,” said Mathur. 

Mathur described that upcoming expanding events for the club “are going to be a part of the HHS Multicultural Night, which is hosted by all of the diversity-led initiatives at HHS. We will be bringing South Asian food and sharing parts of our culture.”

Introducing other people to Indian-style cuisine will help them understand the culture a bit more but also be really fun as people can try new things, Thatigutla further explained. 

“We are also going to be having movie nights starting soon!” Finally, we will be running a fundraiser in the winter in order to raise funds to send overseas to help children in South Asia forward their education”.

“The whole reason I joined the SAAG club in the first place is that it helped me feel more connected with my culture, which I find valuable. And I wanted to become president because I want to help people feel the same way” Thatigutla said.

Mathur then added, “Yes—I love the dynamic between Harini and me along with our group of students who come to the club. Additionally, I love having many people who understand my cultural references and enjoy talking about our shared second culture.”

Looking towards the future, Mathur said, “Harini and I hope to grow our group more throughout the year and hope to keep sharing our message and goal of creating mental health awareness in South Asian communities.” 

Both co-presidents expressed that they encourage and welcome all students to come to a SAAG meeting, as well as opening up their minds to new things and a great way to know a bit more about the people around you.  

SAAG member Sahithi Pogula also gave her input.

“I joined SAAG as a way to connect back to my roots and culture and possibly relate to others who may be feeling the same way I do. I like that people from all grade levels are able to sit down and just talk about the similarities we have, it’s quite comforting to hear someone relate with you” she said.