Cultivating Culture on Campus

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Transitioning and finding your place on campus can be hard as an incoming freshman or transfer student. The Asian Student Association could be an option worth checking out if you want to make new friends and join a community. 

According to the Spring 2023 enrollment report, only 2% of students seeking their undergraduate degree identify as Asian at UNC.  

Asian Pacific American Student Services is the hub for Asian students across campus. There are over five clubs on campus geared towards Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Asian students. Asian students on campus can have a safe space to explore and meet other students who share similar cultures. Asian Pacific American Student Services helps provide students with the necessary resources to be successful academically, professionally, culturally, and emotionally.  

“That sense of community for the American Pacific Islander students at UNC gives me a sense of belonging,” said Elmore Siahaan, the treasurer of the Asian Student Association. 

The Asian Student Association is preparing for its second year as a club. Olivia Kirkpatrick, the co-founder and president of the club, noticed that UNC didn’t specifically have a club on campus directed towards Asian students.  

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“It personally has given me a lot of opportunity to build my skills in terms of leadership, organization [and] event planning,” said Kirkpatrick when talking about the ASA. “Those are all things that I think are really important as you network in the adult world.” 

The club offers food, crafts, and games at all meetings with being inclusive towards all students. Members of the club enjoy having a social community to meet with. The Asian Student Association meets once a month at the Kohl House located on campus at 924 20th St.  

“Anybody can join, [but] obviously it is an Asian interest group,” Siahaan said. “A lot of our members are going to be Asian, but anybody can join.” 

The Office of Student Organization supplies the funds to help the Asian Student Association with the financial aspect of the club. The ASA does not charge membership dues or fees in order to be part of their club. 

“For our events, we get our funding from the OSO, which is the office that gives funding to recognized student organizations,” Siahaan said. “We don’t really need to do club fees or anything.”  

Although the ASA is financially supported by the Office of Student Organization, the club tries to have one fundraising event each semester as well. There are high hopes that students across campus will show up to support the club and donate.  

“Instead of doing an October event, we will be having a boba fundraiser where we will be making all of the boba ourselves and then hopefully selling it to students across campus,” Kirkpatrick said.  

The Asian Student Association, with luck, will have more members join so that the club is able to stick around UNC.  

“I hope that students who feel separated from their cultures are able to find a home here and possibly continue building that home,” Kirkpatrick said.

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