Group Title: AASU application for IDEAL Star Awards
Title: AASU application for IDEAL Star Awards, 2009-2010
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00000305/00001
 Material Information
Title: AASU application for IDEAL Star Awards, 2009-2010
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Wang, Alyssa
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: IR00000305
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Describe the impact of Event or Organization on Campus / Community:


The Asian American Student Union (AASU) is a representative voice of Asian Americans both on campus
and in the community. However, the impact of AASU reaches even further than just the campus-sphere
and Gainesville community, having impact also on the American nation. Within these areas, AASU plays
a role in issues ranging from Asian American political status, the forward movement of Asian America &
Asian identity, and the impact of cultural awareness & diversity. It is through its five sub-organizations
and connections to independent Asian American groups and programs such as the Students for Building
Dreams Foundation, the AASU Freshman Leadership Program, the Asian Pacific American Law
Association, the Southeast Regional Conference of Asian American Leaders, and more, that the Asian
American Student Union is able to accomplish so much through its extended networking and strong
base of support.

One of the greatest things about the Asian American Student Union is that almost any student can find a
niche within it. It is also not specific to any type of student based on their race, their major, etc., and
instead caters to many tastes with its many different kinds of groups, events, and programming. For
example, our Vietnamese Student Organization has one of the best Recreational and Competitive Men's
flag football team-it even placed in the Final Four in 2007. Also, our Filipino Student Association has
one of the best dance team in AASU and is well-known in the UF community for their talent. They always
successfully organize an annual dance competition called DTJ (Def Talent Jam) and they invite Filipino
organizations from across Florida to compete. It is because of AASU's multi-functional quality that
anybody is able to find an interest within AASU-and it is because of this that AASU is also able to
produce leaders in many of the different fields. One other program that AASU has recently developed in
the past three years is the Freshman Leadership Program which actively allows freshman to get first-
hand experience of leadership positions by having them organize events such as the AASU Even Sweeter
17 Ball (which is a ceremony to welcome the new AASU officers and give out awards to outstanding
members of the Asian American community) and the Benefit Concert (a concert that features a popular
Asian American entertainment artist in America where all the proceeds goes to the Students for Building
Dreams). There are also many positions available within Asian Kaleidoscope Month where students can
be directors for events such as "AASU Got Talent", "AASU Food Festival", and "Asian Entertainment and
Arts Festival". All in all, AASU is a place of opportunity and vast potential. Thanks to our inspiring and
experienced members, we are able to bring in a new generation of strong, passionate, initiative-taking
students.

The Asian American Student Union is important in that it serves as a political voice for Asian Americans.
Last year when the budget cuts were threatening the deletion of the Vietnamese and Korean Language
Programs, members from the AASU community took action to preserve these important cultural courses
and to work with the administration to see if there were other solutions to the money issue. With a
hundred plus participants, the Asian American community and its supporters even organized a rally
outside of Dauer Hall to protest the language cuts during a CLAS Faculty Board meeting. Other ways that
AASU has contributed to the Asian American issues on campus is by dealing with the Asian American
Studies Certificate Program, which was established in 2006 by past AASU President Mark Villegas and
other passionate AASU members Leo Esclamado, Preeti Sharma, more. This year, our AASU Campus










Affairs Chair was able to get in contact with Dr. Stephanie Evans of Women Studies to organize a Faculty
Advisory Board for the Asian American Studies Certificate Program, whose purpose is to make sure that
courses will be offered each semester for it. There have also recently been talks to push this Certificate
program towards a minor. AASU has also had a hand in the creation of an Asian American Institute issue.
We had supporters from the AASU community attend the architect's meeting for the Reitz Union
expansion project and our members even made a trip up to the State University of New York, Stony
Brook to visit their Asian American institute called the Charles B. Wang Center to get an idea of what it
would be like to have our own Asian American institute at UF. The Students for Building Dreams have
also held events such as CREATE, where they built a mock institute on the Reitz North lawn to raise
awareness about the lack on an Asian American institute. As you can see, AASU deals with a number of
underlying issues and works to raise awareness about them. We are a strong enough group of students
and people to provide the support needed to take action and do something about these problems.

The Asian American Student Union also serves as a way to move the Asian American community forward
and to create a better and more welcoming environment towards students who may currently not feel
so welcome at UF. A few things AASU is doing to create a better environment is opening up
communication with past Asian alumni who have come and gone and encouraging the attendance of
Asian American conferences at UF and national conferences in other parts of the US. AASU is currently
working on creating an official Asian Alumni Interest group at Emerson Hall. Just last week, we sat in on
the Alumni Board of Trustees and our concern was the main topic on the agenda list. Our AASU Alumni
Chairs made a speech and handed out their elaborate proposal-and the responses towards our request
were very positive. So you can possibly look for something great to happen in the upcoming semester!
This is great because it opens up a whole extra support group of past students who were probably also
equally passionate about some of the issues that are currently facing today. It is also a great way to
bring back alumni and get them involved again in the UF community. Another way that AASU promotes
unity and a feeling of belonging is by holding and attending conferences. Conferences allow people to
network, learn, and have fun! The Southeast Regional Conference of Asian American Leaders is an
annual conference held at UF that invites students from across the US to come and learn about Asian
American issues while meeting UF students and exploring the UF campus. AASU also organizes trips to
national conferences such as the National Asian American Student Conference and the East Coast Asian
American Student Union Conference, where UF students are able to meet prominent Asian American
student leaders attending schools across the east coast of America. These conferences are more thought
than just learning and meeting people- it is also about being inspired and creating and sharing new
ideas. These conferences are important for us Asian Americans in the UF community since there is little
activism for Asian issues in the southeast region of America, compared to the west coast and northeast
region of America. By attending conferences, our eyes are opened up to many new possibilities-and we
are inspired to move forward.

The Asian American Student Union is important for cultural awareness and increasing diversity at UF.
We hold many programming events throughout the year, especially during Asian Kaleidoscope Month,
AASU Week, and our AASU Speaker Series. During Asian Kaleidoscope Month, we have events almost
everyday pertaining to Asian American culture. This month is especially important since it allows










outsiders to take a look inside of AASU and the Asian American community and to see what we have
been doing. During this month, we also bring in huge performers such as Quest Crew from America's
Best Dance Crew (October 2009), Gabe Bondac (Youtube singing sensation), Wong Fu Productions
(extremely influential team of film directors who have been working with huge Asian American
celebrities and personalities). During AASU Week, the freshmen in our community are divided up into
teams and each work on a specific event that is held each day of AASU Week. This is how our freshmen
can prepare for doing future programming and taking on other leadership roles. Our AASU Speaker
Series just began this year and we were able to bring in Norman Ng (Asian American magician), Hiro
Leung (Dragonfly Sushi Owner and Restaurant Consultant Entrepreneur), Helen Hong (comedian), and
Mark Tran and Edward Malinius (Asian American movie directors). It is through these Speaker Series
that students can learn about other career opportunities as well as be inspired by what these people
have done. AASU has a large number of events that promote the Asian American culture and hopes to
break down walls and barriers that may still exist between cultures today.

The Asian American Student Union is also connected to the Gainesville community. AASU also has a
Philanthropy Chair, and this year we have done a number of volunteer events at Tacachale, which is a
home for people with handicaps. The Vietnamese Student Organization is strongly connected to the
Vietnamese community in Gainesville. They both support each other's efforts and Vietnamese
restaurant owners even help VSO students organize their biannual Pho fundraiser. KUSA, CASA, and FSA
also put on cultural shows open to the general public and this is also a great way to increase cultural
awareness within community.

So why is it all necessary for AASU to take on these roles? Asian American students make up eight
percent of the entire UF student population. According the government data taken from the census, we
are the fast growing population in America. Also, according to the 2010 UF SERU graph on how
respected minorities feel respected on the UF campus in comparison to the average percentage of Asian
American students in America, the percentage was significantly lower for Asian American students
compared to those of Black and Hispanic students. These are obviously huge problems and these are
some of the reasons why AASU is here today to do something about them.

In conclusion, the Asian American Student Union is very complex. But I hope you realize its immense

potential that lies not only in its numbers, but in the hearts and passion of its very members and

supporters.


How is the above Event or Organization Qualified for this Award


Qualified because:


Necessary for growth of Asian American moving upwards and forward


Growth of leaders










Awareness and education


Diversity and CULture


Gainesville


Asian America- the nation


politics




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