The Midwest Asian American Students Union: Reflections (Part 4)

12 Apr 2018 4:48 PM

Guest Blogger Guest Blogger

This is part of a four-part series on the MAASU Conference: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

The Midwest Asian American Students Union strives to recognize the needs of the Asian Pacific Islanders American (APIA) Community.

The following list contains the objectives of MAASU:

● Assist schools with the establishment of APIA student organizations, APIA cultural center and/or an Asian American Studies Program

● Promote leadership among APIA students through programs including, but not limited to, the Leadership Retreat, Spring Conference and other various programming

Address educational needs and rights of the APIA community and provide scholarship information for all APIA students

● Develop and maintain a channel of communication for APIA student organizations in the Midwest through e-mails, bi-weekly newsletter and networking

Support and encourage all APIA students to work toward social change by providing a forum for social consciousness

● Unite and strengthen the APIA community‘s stance against all forms of oppression

We asked each attendee to write a summary of their workshops and what their take away. We also asked what their overall MAASU take away was.

Justin W.: The 2018 MAASU Conference was my first experience with MAASU, and our time at The Ohio State University was definitely one I will remember for years to come. Through the experiences and time we had both with our peers from ISU as well as the “family members” from other campuses I not have a much better understanding of the kind of spaces I want to support here. Being from the Midwest, we often find an absence of prominently or completely Asian spaces to find a very specific feeling of community. This conference was an unforgettable opportunity to find that kind of safety and comfort. The workshop that I was most excited for, and satisfied with after was a workshop of APIDA Adoptees. All but one of the 10 attendees was APIDA adoptees, including the facilitator, Hannah Simonetti. This kind of meeting between people from my community of adoptees, which largely spend our time isolated in white spaces with no connection to each other, was so important to me. We laughed hysterically together, even cried some tears remembering struggles, but overall it was probably one of my favorite moments of my recent memory. I would not trade that experience for anything and am so excited for another chance to come back to that space with my community.

Fiona N.: Due to schedule conflicts, I wasn’t able to participate MAASU conferences in the past few years. After hearing a lot of great stories from my friends about MAASU conference, I decided to participate this year despite still having conflicts with my schedule. I did not grow up in the United States like everyone else. I was born and raised where our cultures are still traditional and we are not as open-minded. Moving to Iowa for university, I experience what being the minority is and how many of us are having problems being part of the minority group. MAASU provides workshops for the participants to overcome those issues and learn what they can do to overcome those issues. Participating MAASU definitely have opened my perspective more towards the Asian-American community in the Midwest. Not only does it expanded my networking circle and improve my communication skills through my MAASU family, the workshops I participated discussed different background stories, how the role social identity plays in our lives, how people become leaders and methods of leading, and how we can develop to be leaders as APIA.

Leslie T.: My overall experience at MAASU was making memories with other Asian American students. I went to this conference not knowing a clue and now I can call these people my family. I also learned to overcome obstacles as being an Asian American. One of the workshops, I thought was interesting was the Women of Color. The speakers were Asian American women who are successful and managed to spend time with their families. They talked about their personal experience and how there’s a barrier for women called the glass ceiling. Women and minorities have to work harder to achieve their goals. This workshop made me realize that I have to work harder than others and it’s normal to ask people for a higher raise, if you know you deserve it.

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