ASA revives Bubble Tea Social

ASA Officers work to serve boba for students in attendance.

Mariane Powell, Staff Writer

The fall semester marked the return of many MSMS events canceled due to social distancing precautions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Asian Student Association’s Bubble Tea Social was among them.

The wellness seminar returned last month in Hogarth Auditorium, where students enjoyed $3 boba, popcorn and a viewing of the film “Mulan.”

Attendees were greeted at the door of Hogarth Auditorium by faculty sponsor of ASA Lori LeVar Pierce — known in the club as Pierce Lăoshī, or teacher in Mandarin— who made popcorn to accompany the bubble tea. 

“I think this is the third time they’ve done a boba tea social, the last time being in 2019,” Pierce said. “I myself do not drink tea, but this is always a really popular event because apparently everyone else loves boba.”

The value of hosting this event comes from “exposing the students to another culture,” she said, which is what ASA is “all about.”

As “Mulan” played in the background and the line of students waiting for boba stretched out the door of the auditorium, ASA officers doled out cups of the boba they had prepared earlier in the afternoon.

ASA Historian Geethika Polepalli said club members spent hours in the kitchen making tea, “but it was worth it.”

“We put our blood, sweat and tears into making [the boba],” added ASA Treasurer Harsika Dillibabu.

The club acquired 10 pounds of tapioca balls, 10 gallons of milk and 500 bags of black tea in preparation for the event, but more students showed up than had responded to an RSVP email sent out weeks prior, according to ASA President Christina Zhang.

“I always want to buy boba, but it’s kind of pricey these days. So, I figured, why not just bring it to my community?” Zhang said. “I hope after people came to the event, they realized how fun our club can be and what there is for them to gain out of it.”

The boba itself received mixed reviews from students. 

Junior Roman Luckett said the flavor of the tea was lacking due to inadequate cooking and preparation.

“As someone who used to work in a boba shop, I think they didn’t use enough milk powder, and I think that they didn’t brew the tea long enough,” Luckett said.

Other students without Luckett’s boba expertise agreed the drinks were rather underwhelming.

“I have never had boba before, and this boba will set the bar for if I have boba again,” said junior Ash Taylor, “Which I will not.” 

However, the reviews of other students in attendance show Zhang and ASA’s goals for the event and the future of the club had been fulfilled.

“For what resources they had, I rate the boba a 6.5 or seven,” junior Lisa Seid said. “I love to participate [in ASA events], and maybe I’ll even help coordinate the event next year.”

“I love boba,” junior Ella Jones added. “I don’t normally drink milk, but I’m making the sacrifice for ASA.”

Junior Ean Choi, who described himself as “sort of lactose intolerant,” made the same decision because “you’ve got to support ASA over your health.”

The ASA officers said their efforts paid off, and the future of the club is bright.

“Now that people know ASA gives out food and it’s not just about … learning and PowerPoints, a lot more people will join ASA,” Polepalli said.

ASA Secretary Kadie Van agreed the bubble tea social was a successful example of the club’s raison d’être, or reason for being.

“This event was really fun and really chaotic, which is what the Asian Student Association is all about,” Van said.