The Student Activism Speaker Series (SASS)

The Caltech Y Student Activism Speaker Series (SASS) is a student-driven effort to promote awareness of global issues and to challenge the Caltech community to address world needs, both within the scientific disciplines and beyond. 














The Student Activism Speaker Series seeks to expose Caltech students and the community at large to the many diverse issues that face them, both locally and globally, so that they may use their skills, ingenuity, and leadership to address these issues.  The speakers are from varied backgrounds yet all have dedicated their lives to important social struggles. Their ability to share their experiences with students, bringing new awareness and stimulating thought and discussion, is part of what makes the series a success.  SASS provides a forum for students to explore issues that may be controversial on campus and in the community and seeks to promote an awareness of current issues, a confidence in one’s ability to affect social change, and the knowledge of how to do so.  

The SASS Committee is an independent organization affiliated with the Caltech Y, open to any member of the Caltech community.  Fund raising, speaker selection, and program coordination are conducted under the direction of the student committee with support and advising from Caltech Y staff.

Current Members:

Kathleen Kennedy, Chair

Elyse Pennington

Kai Matsuka

Ben Riviere

Manni He

Sarah Cohen

Greg Fletcher, Caltech Y Program Director

Anthony Leonard, Caltech Faculty, Caltech Y Board Member

SASS, inaugurated as the Social Activism Speaker Series in 1999, follows in the footsteps of past student-run lecture series through the Caltech Y, including the Leaders of America Series (55-79) and the Distinguished Speaker Series (90-93).  And, like its predecessors, SASS originated from students desire to provide the challenging and thought provoking, finding a home under the Y's umbrella of promoting engaged responsible citizenship.

Past speakers include:

2019     Scott Pace - Executive Secretary, National Space Council

2004     Bernie Sanders - U.S. Congressman

1999     Dolores Huerta - Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers Union

1987     Betty Friedan - Feminist Author and Activist

1958     Martin Luther King, Jr. -Civil Rights Leader

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