ASU promotes culture, outreach through heritage month

Asain Pacific American Heritage Month to include cultural events, networking

nsapahmcourtesyasu

Tran said she hopes to increase understanding both within the Asian and Asian American community as well as the outside community.

Courtesy Asian Student Union

The Asian Student Union and its membership organizations are currently hosting a number of events to celebrate Asian heritage and promote outreach within the greater University community coinciding with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Events range from comedy nights and large cultural days to food tastings and networking events.

Fourth-year Batten student Victoria Tran, co-chair of APAHM, said the diversity of events allow for the opportunity for students to talk about race and race relations in a variety of different platforms. These platforms include a comedy night with the Latino Student Alliance April 23 as well as a Literary and Art Showcase April 16, where diversity can be highlighted through art and literature.

“Our events specifically are hoping to highlight Asian American issues, history and celebrate Asian American culture through a variety of different pathways,” Tran said.

Fourth-year Commerce student Jinny Chen, ASU vice president of administration, said the diversity of events is important in order to capture the vast, diverse and vibrant Asian American experience at the University.

“For APAHM, it’s difficult to capture the ‘Asian American experience’ in one event, and with that in mind, we hold several different events that celebrate it and highlight it,” Chen said in an email statement.

Tran said the month is a time to not only celebrate Asian American heritage as individuals, but also as a way to celebrate the collective experience.

“We wanted to do a 50/50 mix of being able to celebrate our heritage and our experience in a comfortable environment and also showcase our culture and our heritage to a larger population,” Tran said.

Third-year College student Sarah Kim, incoming president of the Korean Student Association, said Asian Pacific American Heritage Month gives Asian American students a chance to celebrate the traditions of their cultures among the predominantly white and American history of the University.

“It’s just good to … not only reach out to the rest of the student body but kind of show Asian students that they matter on Grounds, that they’re not invisible, and that their cultures are worth being celebrated here,” Kim said.

The events of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month highlight and may help alleviate unique problems Asian American students face, Tran said. Specifically, the cultural events help bring the different Asian and Asian American groups on Grounds closer together.

“Something that a lot of students pointed out was that a lot of times they don’t feel exactly like they belong in any culture,” Tran said. “A lot of students then come to the University and don’t quite find the niche that they are looking for.”

By bringing the students together, Tran said she hopes to increase understanding both within the Asian and Asian American community as well as the outside community.

Kim said she feels the Asian community does not have a very strong presence on Grounds, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month gives the broader University community insight into the “separate world” of the Asian and Asian American culture.

“I feel like every year it feels like an introduction, a glimpse of Asian students’ backgrounds and their culture,” Kim said.

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