SAMOSA tournament takes it to the streets

John LaCerda

While other students across campus anxiously awaited NovaFest activities, the members of Villanova’s South Asian Multicultural Organized Students Association worked relentlessly to organize the group’s Fifth Annual Charity Streetball Tournament.

Held on April 20 in the Pavilion from noon until 3 p.m., the SAMOSA event consisted of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with prizes for the top three teams and all revenue donated to charity.

Games included single elimination and two substitutes per team, while trained referees oversaw the action.

The tournament raised money and awareness for Home of Hope, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping orphaned and destitute children in India.

Founded in 1999 by Dr. Nilima Sabharwal, Home of Hope partners with foster homes in order that the children may grow to be well balanced, self-sustaining members of society.

Freshman Pramiti Singh, who served as the Public Relations Chair, for the event, found the planning for the tournament to be extremely rewarding.

“The goal was to promote awareness about the activities going on in other countries and what can be done to help children who are less fortunate,” Singh said. “The basketball tournament itself was a 3-on-3, single elimination tournament that had over 25 teams. It was my first time planning such an event, but probably one of the most valuable experiences of my life.”

SAMOSA is an undergraduate student organization dedicated to promoting cultural unity among its members and the University community.

Working with many other cultural organizations on campus and alongside cultural groups based out of surrounding schools, SAMOSA strives to educate and increase awareness about all South Asian cultures.

It provides for an environment in which students can explore and learn about their cultural roots and heritage.

SAMOSA also gives immense support to incoming South Asian students at the University.

“In my high school, there wasn’t much diversity, so when I came to ‘Nova, I was afraid it would be the same way,” Singh said. “When I discovered there was a South Asian group on campus, I was really thrilled to be able to find people who I could relate to on a cultural level. I wanted to contribute some of my own skills and help the organization be the best it could be,” Singh said.

She said she hopes that more people join the organization, even students not from South Asia, because the events bring education and personal satisfaction.

Students promote the organization’s value because it shows the immensity of its cultural connections and how it will surely last for generations.

Besides the 3-on-3 basketball tournament, the organization also sponsors a multitude of events with equal goals, such as the Diwali Cultural Show, Holi, movie nights and the SAMOSA picnic.

This year’s Diwali Show featured a presentation on the portrayal of the South Asian culture through the eyes of the Bollywood film industry and attracted over 700 people to the Villanova Room.

It consisted of various types of dances and performances, displaying a range of traditions and cultures in South Asia.

Holi, the Festival of Colors, is a unique festival celebrating the arrival of spring.

Participants get to color themselves and others with colored powder and throw water at their friends.

At this year’s Balloon Day, SAMOSA sponsored a henna booth that explored the ancient art of henna design.

In addition to providing a multitude of events on campus, SAMOSA is also involved in sponsoring a young boy through Children’s International.

It helps to provide donations for a young boy in India named Rahul Das.

Money provided to this cause helps secure funds for Rahul’s family to pay for his food, clothing and the tools necessary for a proper education. 

On a Saturday night in April, SAMOSA attended the Penn Masala spring concert “MTV: Masala Televsion,” held at the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Masala is the world’s first Hindi a cappella group, combining South Asian music with a Western music style.

“Next, we have our Diwali show, which is the largest, most diverse student-planned event on campus,” Singh said. “We’re really excited and have already started planning for it, but we like to keep our themes a secret so you’ll just have to come to see how it is.”