While all members share an Asian ancestry, diversity is far from lacking within the Asian Student Association.
The ASA helps to promote awareness of the varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds between its members in a way that celebrates differences and brings everyone closer together. Â Weekly opportunities allow for students to present historical presentations of their ethnicity and culture, and how their family or they themselves had immigrated to the United States. Â Â This exploration of members’ Asian heritage strongly reflects the cultural face of the ASA in a celebratory way. Â
Another face of the ASA, that is represented through both events held on campus and fundraising for select causes, is the group’s community relations. Â The education and celebration of diversity extends past themselves and is shared with students of any race, culture or ethnicity.
“We’re not just all about us, all about the Asian community,” Philanthropy Chair Brian Chan said. Â “We’re all about other communities as well.”
ASA President Thomas Sek strongly emphasized the importance of the ASA’s relationships with other ethnic groups on campus, but also highlighted that being Asian isn’t a prerequisite for becoming a member. Â Some of the ASA executive board members are not Asian themselves, and although it’s not typical, Sek said it’s something that is embraced by the group. Â
“We love to see new faces,” Sek said. Â “Everyone is welcome, and I don’t want people to think that we just say that, because we don’t.”
A third face of the ASA concerns itself with politics and raising awareness to current events that concern Asian heritage. Â The scope for concerns and issues surrounding heritage span from local to global views, often discussed weekly within the ASA meetings on Thursday nights. Â
The final and perhaps one of the most important faces of the ASA promotes a social setting both within the close-nit ASA community and more broadly reaching the greater URI community.
Sek first joined the ASA as a freshman because he said it was a place where he felt comfortable being around students of similar backgrounds whom he thought would understand and be able to support him. The ASA helps provide him with a strong sense of networking throughout college, and Chan similarly described the community as a support system that helped to him to navigate college as a first generation student. Â
On April 28, the ASA will help to support and showcase many of its represented cultures in the annual ASA Culture Show. Â All members of the URI community are welcome to celebrate the diversity of Asian America, according to Sek. Â
“It’s shows you how diverse Asian American is,” Sek said. “It’s not just one language. It’s not just one country. It’s not just one religion. Â Asian American is an entirety.”