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Maana Sasaki ’12

Maana Sasaki ’12 is Her Campus Oxy’s first Campus Celebrity! Maana is involved all over campus, but all of her activities are tied together with a sense of civic duty and love of people. Her involvements include Pulse, Dance Production, aidJapan, Dance Marathon, and Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha.
Maana was born in Kyoto, Japan, but moved to California with her family as a child. She eventually moved back to Japan following the passing of her grandfather, and attended Canadian Academy, an international school in Japan. Now, she’s at Oxy finishing up her education, and is a Critical Theory and Social Justice major with an Economics minor.
If you dance on campus, you know Maana. She is the co-founder of Pulse, a hip-hop dance club on campus that brings professional choreographers from the Los Angeles area to campus to teach hip-hop classes for free, and student teachers are encouraged to teach classes as well. Says Maana, “For Pulse we aim to be all-inclusive, whether you’ve danced your entire life or you’ve never set foot in a dance studio, everyone is welcome.” Pulse puts on several performances a year on campus, including a performance at Relay for Life last spring.
In addition to Pulse, Maana has been involved in Dance Production for the past three years. For those who don’t know, Dance Production is a huge student-organized dance show choreographed and performed by Oxy students. She’s danced in the hip-hop, belly dance, salsa, and Latin fusion dances, and co-choreographed a piece her sophomore year.
Maana dances for the love of dance, but she also dances for charity. “Dance Marathon is my new project for this year,” she says excitedly. “I’ve heard about Dance Marathons at other schools so I wanted to start one at Oxy as well.” Dance Marathon is a one-day event where students raise money and dance for Save the Children, an “independent organization that focuses on children with programs that aim for protection, child development and education, health and nutrition, HIV/Aids and securing livelihoods. I think that it will be a great opportunity for students to come together for a great cause while having a fun time.” With Maana in charge, it is sure to be a day of dancing and altruism.
And speaking of altruism, Maana is part of the group of students who formed aidJapan last year on campus, which was started after the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan. According to Maana, “most of us had some sort of connection to Japan, whether our parents were from there or we had lived there.” The group set up tables at campus-wide events to fundraise for Japan. And although the media circus has largely moved on from the tragedy in Japan, Maana and aidJapan have not. This year, she and Saya Novinger ’12 will be leading aidJapan to continue raising funds and awareness of Japan’s rebuilding and recovery. Maana’s sorority, Alpha Lambda Phi Apha, did her part to by donating all proceeds of the pledge-organized fundraising event to aidJapan.
When not fundraising, dancing and hanging out with her friends, Maana likes to explore L.A. for new places to eat. Maana is a serious philanthropic powerhouse on campus whose dancing is not to be missed! Watch out for announcements about Dance Marathon, coming to Oxy’s campus in February 2012.

Madi Tsuji is a former Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Occidental. She is originally from Seattle, WA and now lives in New York City, where she works in PR. 
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