Veteran's Day Blog Post One

I attend a predominantly white institution (PWI). Within the last decade, The Princeton Review ranked Dickinson College the most preppy. I remember my first impression of the school during re-visit my senior year of high school. In the first week of classes, I attended the student activities fair. I passed by a sakura blossom- themed table and noticed that the members did not appear Asian. Across the aisle was the “Asian American Alliance.” A handful of upperclassmen wore t-shirts saying “S.W.A.G. Something We Asians Got” across the back. During the 2012 academic year, the Asian American Alliance (AAA) had been Student Senate recognized for one semester. The neat fragment of its history is that there was an organic coming together of these students. They come from New York City, Texas, Virginia,and Los Angeles. Many of them were half-Asians (or HAPA’s) and some were born offshore (but raised in The States). My freshman year enthused me with an undergraduate social life with Asian American classmates among the predominantly white peers. Those who were not interested in the Asian American Alliance were fraternity and sorority members. “Passing as white” or not identifying with an Asian American identity was a topic of conversation among the club members. With senior members graduating, the organization remained “top-heavy” in its percentage of upperclassmen. Underclassmen recruiting was grim and I was among the first to join. We held weekly discussions led by students and faculty. In less than ten weeks, a rotation among the active members that presented a topic was completed. Our model for weekly conversation was running dry. Membership, leadership, and participation was dwindling. The semesters before I began classes were the best. Before formal school recognition, APIA students were interested in fundraising, partying, and lounging in public locations. Those beginning moments were as close to a sports team or a sorority as I have personally experienced. I collected the stories of my elder classmates and clung to those reiterations of a golden age for Asian American advocacy. What lies ahead for AAA’s future is unclear. I believe that participation in organizations such as ECAASU is critical to furthering AAA’s, and other colleges' APIA student groups, missions. With their annual conferences at an east coast university, ECAASU can provide an extensive network to help connect numerous advocacy groups. The result could be a stronger Asian American presence among colleges that can spread westward, going further than Philadelphia.