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South Asian, Southwest Asian, and North African Living Community Pilot Program (SSWANA)


The SSWANA Living Community Pilot: Dedicated to the SSWANA Experience at Cal

sswana logoUC Berkeley will continue piloting the SSWANA Living Community for the 2023-24 academic year. The community is very excited about this new endeavor, which is a result of several years of student activism. The program seminar offers students the opportunity to learn about the historical and contemporary issues facing SSWANA communities, while simultaneously learning about liberatory movements connected to the community at large. The SSWANA Living Community offers opportunities to participate in social, cultural, and academic events that highlight the vibrance of SSWANA communities.  A live-in Theme Program Resident Assistant (TPRA) provides resources and support for the students’ academic, cultural, and social needs. The SSWANA Themed Program Pilot cultivates a small community experience in a large university by providing a fun and unique space for students to explore their identities through community, education, and empowerment.

Program Requirements

SSWANA community members are expected to engage in and actively participate in the following theme program activities, including:

  • A yearlong mandatory (fall and spring) seminar. The seminar is a 2-unit, ASAMST 194/B on Wednesdays 4-6pm, graded class that meets once a week for two hours. If you’re admitted to the SSWANA theme program, you will be given more information about how to enroll in the seminar.
  • Community development activities and other theme program activities.
  • Sixty-minute SSWANA weekly meetings.
  • SSWANA fall and spring retreats.

Signature Events & Programming

Events include a wide variety of interaction with faculty and staff, as well as community activities. Examples of SSWANA activities include the SSWANA cultural show, Asian & Arab American Heritage Months, Cal Day, high school outreach, retreats, and much more.

Living Space

SSWANA program participants live together on a floor housing the Towle Mini Suites in Unit 2, which is situated on the south edge of campus a few blocks away from the bustle of Telegraph Avenue. Each mini-suite consists of two spacious bedrooms, either two double-occupancy rooms or one double- and one triple-occupancy room, plus its own bathroom with shower. Each mini-suite is single gender. The program is housed alongside the Bloom: Asian American Community Program. For more information about Unit 2, including amenities and features, academic services, and more, please visit Housing.

Applying for the Program

Students interested in participating in the SSWANA Living Community Pilot will apply via the Cal Housing application.  You’ll need to answer supplemental essay questions for each theme program you apply to. A selection committee will review applications, and you’ll be notified of your admission to the theme program when you receive your housing offer.  To apply for housing and the SSWANA Living Community Pilot, please visit


If you have additional questions about living arrangements that are not answered here, please email Residential Life at If you have questions about the SSWANA Living Community Pilot, please email Doaa Dorgham, SSWANA Program Director at