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Previous executive team members on the Vietnamese American Student Association.

OSU celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Friday, April 2, 2021

Oklahoma State University is celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in April with a collection of events designed to honor and promote understanding of Asian/Pacific cultures.

Although the month is nationally celebrated in May, the Office of Multicultural Affairs presents the events in April so students can fully participate without having to divide their attention between the celebrations and finals. 

“The mission and purpose of the Office of Multicultural Affairs is to help students achieve academic excellence and come together to learn more about each other’s cultures,” said Joyce Crawford, the coordinator of Asian American Affairs. “We want this month to be about culture, heritage, language — a month where students can reach out, learn and observe other cultures.” 

In partnership with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Asian/Pacific American student organizations are working to present a series of events and speakers throughout the month, all geared to celebrate unique aspects of each organization's culture. 

The Japanese Student Association hosted a weeklong celebration of Japanese culture with Instagram trivia, an Omikuji fortune table, lantern painting and more from March 29 to April 2. 

“[Celebrating heritages] on campus gives students the opportunity to see that there’s a bigger, more exciting world out there,” said Soshi Xiong, a student leader in the Japanese Student Association. “By celebrating and sharing cultures, you allow for understanding to come and, hopefully, a better appreciation for each other.” 

The Vietnamese American Student Association is hosting multiple events as well. On April 8, everyone is invited to join the VASA Flag Discussion, where experienced speakers will lead discussions on the history of the Vietnamese flags. The organization will also present VASA on Well-Being, spotlighting mental health issues and discussing how to overcome them. On April 30, VASA plans to remember and honor the thousands of refugees who fled the country after the Vietnam War on Boat People Day. 

A Heritage Month Speaking series, presented by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will provide opportunities for more students to engage in deep discussions with topics covering multicultural stigma, cultural dances and stopping Asian hate. Leading the conversations will be  OSU’s first Asian American coordinator and co-founder of the Asian American Faculty & Staff Association and the OSU-Asian Alumni Association Catherine Vijayakumar, Director of Dance in the Department of Theater & Dance Emma Draves, clinical recruiter at Grand Lake Mental Health Lawrence Richardson and previous coordinator of Asian American Affairs Marcia Sun.

Created to promote leadership, confidence and the creativity of Asian students, the 10th Miss Asian OSU Scholarship Pageant will be on April 10. The event is presented by the Asian American Student Association and streams live on OStateTV. Viewers are encouraged to participate and vote on a contestant for the People’s Choice Award. 

In a showcase of linguistics, the TESLing Student Association will host the 6th Spring Forum Conference in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) on April 17. The conference, hosted on Eventbrite, is an all-day opportunity for linguistics researchers, teachers and students to present their research or classroom ideas through the lens of diversity, inclusion and access. 

At the end of the month, the Asian American Student Association invites OSU students and community members to join in their End-of-Year Celebration, where the AASA will celebrate the resilience and success of its members, families and allies through the difficult times of 2020 and 2021. 

“We want to promote diversity and inclusion,” Crawford said. “If we don’t understand one another, we may not be strong enough to withstand life’s storms. But together, if we stand united, we can be strong, live harmoniously and create a solid foundation for the future. Through this month, we are moving toward a better, more united future.”

For more information and the full schedule of events, visit okla.st/aphm21

 

STORY BY: Kylee Sutherland | Communications Intern

MEDIA CONTACT: Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator | 405.744.5540 | mack.burke_iv@okstate.edu 

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