The University of Oregon is celebrating Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month in May through a variety of events and activities put on by student groups. Here’s a look at some of the student groups that provide support and community for those who identify as Asian and Pacific American:
Asian Pacific American Student Union
Description: The Asian Pacific American Student Union is a social group for anyone who identifies as Asian or Pacific American or an ally. The club holds weekly meetings to discuss topics related to identity, hosts a variety of events and puts on an annual retreat to provide students an opportunity to connect with each other, have fun and think critically. During the month of May, the group is inviting several speakers to come talk on campus.
Quote: “It’s important for folks to understand we’re not homogenous. We have our own cultures and customs that can’t be simplified into an idea of an Oriental white gaze. This is a space for folks to discuss and work through those nuances.” — Kezia Setyawan, club leader
Description: Kultura Pilipinas is the student organization and community for Filipino Americans and others interested in Filipino culture and heritage. The club fosters a sense of support and community through meetings and events, including its biggest event of year, Filipino Culture Night from 6 to 8 p.m. May 18 at the Global Scholars Hall.
Quote: “Being at a predominately white institution, it’s a place for Filipino Americans to find people who have shared experiences or identities and to share a place of belonging.” — Brittney Pioquinto Kultura Pilipinas club leader
Description: Ahiru Daiko is the UO’s ensemble for Daiko, or traditional Japanese barrel drums. Daiko drums are traditionally played during festivals throughout Japan. Today, it has evolved into performance art played on stage. Ahiru Daiko currently has about 10 members who play a mix of traditional Japanese rhythms and others inspired by jazz and swing music. They perform at a variety of university events, including the Together We Rise awards banquet May 6.
Quote: “There’s something universally empowering about hitting these drums and making this really loud sound. Whenever I watch other groups perform I always feel like I’m part of it, even though I’m watching from the audience, because I can hear it and feel it throughout my body.” — Rebecca Lee, Ahiru Daiko director
Hui ‘O Hawai’i
Description: Hui ‘O Hawai’i is a community group for all UO students who are Hawaiian or have a connection to or interest in Hawaiian culture. The social club is meant to help students learn about the culture, as well as act as a home base for Hawaiian students who have come so far from home. Students feeling homesick can go through the club’s hanai (adopted) program to connect with a “big sister” or “big brother,” another student on campus who can act as a point person for questions and support. With biweekly meetings, fundraisers, performances and other events, the club finds many reasons to meet. Every year club members put on a luau, which will take place May 25 this year.
Quote: “It’s important for me because this is the first thing I got into when I came to the UO.” — Polani Mo’okini, Hui ‘O Hawai’i club president
Description: UO Wushu practices wushu, a Chinese martial art that relies on performing combos, routines and forms. UO alumni and Hong Kong actor Daniel Wu founded UO Wushu in 1994, and club members still perform today on and off campus, including at competitions out of state. The club teaches open hand and weapon forms using a range of techniques, including southern fist, drunken fist, staffs, chain whips, fans and swords. Club members practice three times a week and perform at university events and at teaching demonstrations.
Quote: “This club is important to me personally because it's more than just a club, it's a family. Through the years, it's established a culture of family and self-development, not just in martial arts but through academic, emotional and personal growth.” — Caleb Trinidad, Wushu Club external coordinator
Other Asian and Pacific American student groups include Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Hong Kong Student Association, International Student Association, Japanese Student Organization, Kalapu Pasifika, Korean Student Association, Minority Association for Pre-medical Students, Multi-Ethnic Student Alliance, Southeast Asian Student Alliance, Students of the Indian Subcontinent, Taiwanese Student Association and Vietnamese Student Association.
For information about events during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, check out this Around the O story.