SASI provides stage for student creators to entertain, educate

Andre Doeman ‘15 performs at the Students Against Social Injustice’s third annual Express YaSelf event on Sunday Feb. 26. Students were invited to recite poetry, songs and other creative mediums to express themselves and educate their peers about recent social issues. (Jenna Harbus/Staff Photographer)

Andre Doeman ‘15 performs at the Students Against Social Injustice’s third annual Express YaSelf event on Sunday Feb. 26. Students were invited to recite poetry, songs and other creative mediums to express themselves and educate their peers about recent social issues. (Jenna Harbus/Staff Photographer)

Among the politically charged current events surrounding the nation and the campus, a bright light was the Students Against Social Injustice’s third annual Express YaSelf event. Held at the Knight Spot on Sunday Feb. 26, the event was a safe place for students to enjoy and to appreciate entertainment, socialization and education from peers.

Founded in 2013, SASI is a student organization that aims to educate the campus community about issues of social injustice and what we as a campus community can do to reduce the suffering of others. Over time, the group has found their own space in Geneseo by “bringing more awareness on campus in terms of activism.”

“Express YaSelf was sort of the brain child when we were all baby freshmen, and we tried to think of something on campus that was directly toward social injustice, activism and a safe space for all the activists on campus to come together, celebrate each other and then also bring awareness to different clubs that are doing different things,” SASI president political science major senior Sasha Miller said.

During the event, multiple students performed an array of different talents, such as psychology major sophomore Kevin Vazcones’ impressive dance. Additionally, the event provided deep and meaningful slam poetry from Andre Doeman ‘15, Josh Roychowdhury ‘15 and history adolescent education major junior Ilana Turk. Their poetry spoke to social injustices in our country and around the world. 

Among the student performers, however, were representatives from certain activist clubs on campus such as Alpha Delta Epsilon sorority, One Love and Peace Action. This way, attendees could learn more about each respective organization.

“We call it a one-stop shop for education and entertainment because you come here to celebrate your peers and their talent, but then also you find out about the activities of specific organizations, so you don’t realize that you’re learning,” Miller said. “That’s sort of one of the hidden outcomes of Express YaSelf.” 

Express YaSelf not only presented many talents, it also fostered a larger sense of community. 

“Before, this event was sort of a nice time for people to get together for you to learn, but this event this year is more targeted toward self-healing and relaxation,” Miller said. “You feel tired and depressed, so this is sort of a moment for like-minded people to come together, celebrate each other and sort of validate what we know and what we stand for.” 

Considering recent events surrounding our country, this annual event came at the perfect time.

“Express YaSelf reminds people that you’re not alone on campus and [not alone in] what you’re feeling. People see you,” Miller said. “You may feel like your rights are taken away by this presidency, but we’re here with you 100 percent of the way.” 

Although this event was SASI’s biggest event of the year, they still intend to promote their ideas in any way possible. For example, they marched in the Solidarity Riot together as an organization on Friday Feb. 24.  

Express YaSelf was and continues to be an excellent way for students to “express themselves,” to communicate with other student activists and to make a change on our campus and ultimately our nation as a whole.