May 31, 2013

New RSO brings Pakistani culture to campus

The Pakistan Students Association (PSA), one of UChicago’s newest RSOs, seeks to connect Pakistani students on campus and provide a welcoming place for other students to come and learn about the country and its culture.

PSA, which was officially registered during winter quarter, currently has about 15 members, including Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans. However, the group is open to all students on campus who are interested in Pakistan.

First-year and current PSA president Fatima Aslam started the RSO because she felt that the University lacked the community for Pakistani students that she had seen at other universities she visited.

“Though we had organizations such as SASA [South Asian Student Association]...I still felt that Pakistan had a very distinct culture and issues that should be represented separately,” she said in an e-mail to the Maroon.

Aslam also believes PSA will fill a gap on campus by providing a uniquely Pakistani perspective to students. While the group is still working out its agenda for next year, it hopes to work with other RSOs and the Institute of Politics to bring Pakistani writers and politicians to campus and to organize study breaks and a cultural show early next year.

Aslam said she believes that Pakistan has a largely negative image in the world and hopes to show other students that there is more to her home country than what is said in the media.

“Pakistan was the first Islamic country with a female prime minister. People in college will never hear facts like these, and would leave this place with an underdeveloped image of Pakistan,” she said. “The rich culture and history of Pakistan is often overlooked, and this is the void that PSA will fill on this campus.”