The Asia-A kickoff took place at the Diversity Center Friday, April 27. The event, headed by sophomores and co-presidents Chiao-Yu Tuan and Tammy Tran marked the revival of a group that celebrates shared Asian experiences while also exploring the differences between different Asian cultures.
The original Asia-A organization disbanded in 2009 due to a lack of leadership. However, this year, Tran saw her opportunity to bring the organization back to campus.
The event was a festive open house and attracted a variety of people of different classes and ethnicities. Guests were encouraged to socialize and enjoy the variety of food from different Asian countries.
The presidents delivered opening remarks about Asia-A and opened a discussion to allow people to ask questions. The discussion resonated with many guests, as it allowed a variety of voices to be heard on a wide range of subjects.
Topics included the discrepancy over which countries are actually considered part of Asia, why Asian countries are often grouped together, what experiences people have had in Asian countries and what it is like to be Asian at a predominantly Caucasian university.
Sophomore Thao Nguyen, from Vietnam, shared that her residence in the United States actually “made me think about my own culture,” adding, “I never knew what it was like to be a minority until I came here.”
Tuan, who grew up mostly in Beijing, saw the importance of resurrecting Asia-A as a way to “keep in touch with [her] roots when being Americanized.”
As the discussion concluded, guests were encouraged to make their own sushi, sample different foods, try on traditional costumes from different Asian countries and get their picture taken in the photo booth.
The purpose of Asia-A is left somewhat ambiguous, suggesting that the organization is comfortable with the fact that the organization will have different meaning for different members. Tran encouraged anyone interested in discussing Asian culture and issues to come to meetings, regardless of their ethnicity.
Freshman Shay Albrecht stated her view on the importance of the organization: “It’s a really good group for us as Americans, [as it provides] the opportunity to hear about different Asian cultures from other students but [is] also great for international students to get together and talk about things they may not be able to talk about with [students from the U.S.]”
Asia-A plans to have bi-weekly meetings to continue discussion on topics relating to Asian culture and the experience of being Asian. Contact Tran to be put on the mailing list.