Diversity is a concept that can create undivided parallels in the world. The dimensions that separate people based upon identities such as race, gender and class create people’s uniqueness but also creates societal disruption. To combat the isolation that comes from having a diverse background students at Alma College have created the first ever Asian Student Union (ASU) on campus. Similar to the well known Black Student Union (BSU) at Alma, the ASU’s purpose is to create a platform that is accessible for all students on campus to learn about and help create a safe environment for students of Asian and Asian American descent. To help explain more about what Alma’s ASU is and what it will mean for students I interviewed Kristina Her (‘22) President of the Alma Asian Student Union.
When asked what ASU was and what it will entail for Alma College, Kristina Her explained, “Asian Student Union was created to serve as a support group and an educational resource for all students who are interested in learning more about Asian cultures. We hope this organization will disperse stereotypes regarding Asians and Asian Americans through workshops and cultural events in hopes of creating an Asian voice on campus. We plan to collaborate and unite with other minority student organizations and communities on a local and statewide scale to promote cultural diversity. This will provide students of all cultures to expand their cultural knowledge and understanding of Asian and Asian-American society and to eliminate narrow-mindedness, invigorate the apathetic, and promote cultural diversity. We hope to achieve these goals through active campus involvement, volunteering, and community outreach.”
For the first event the ASU hosted a Curry Bar Mixer on Thursday October 7th at the TVD North and South Commons. The event’s goal was to introduce ASU to students, faculty and staff. Kristina Her explained, “Food events are a big focus as well since food is important to Asian culture and often ridiculed. We hope to host food events (similar to the International Club’s World Kitchens) for various Asian culture’s celebrations, such as the different New Years celebrations, important holidays, etc.” Other events they plan on hosting such as self-care nights and student and staff-led discussion panels will be tied to their core values of creating a safe space to promote diversity inclusion for Asian students and their allies.
The Asian Student Union is an organization open to all students on campus regardless of identity background. It is an opportunity for students to have a space to feel comfortable learning about different cultural backgrounds, specifically regarding Asians and Pacific Islanders. Rosemary Hathaway (‘23) Vice President of ASU said, “I only know a few Asian students on campus so it is exciting to be able to have an inclusive space where I can meet others that have a similar identity. The Asian Student Union will allow open dialogue for all students.” If any student is interested in joining please contact Julia Dang or Kristina Her at firstname.lastname@example.org.