Ithaca, NY—The East Coast Asian American Student Union is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 ECAASU Community Builder Award. These students were recognized at the 2018 ECAASU Conference at Cornell University. The award is given to three individuals who have brought together and uplifted their communities to support social justice, among and/or within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
"The Community Builder Award is important because it emphasizes the value of the work that these individuals have done and will continue to do," says Outreach Coordinator Hannah Song, who organized the award. "It is a way that we, as a community, can celebrate and show our appreciation to these individuals on their accomplishments." The award recipients are all outstanding members of their campus communities and have built coalitions with groups both within and outside of the AAPI community to advance AAPI issues. In many ways, these recipients accomplishments reflect the larger work that their community has contributed to.
All of the nominees were exceptional leaders, which made narrowing down the recipients very difficult. "I am at such ease knowing that the future of our community is in such good hands. I hope that everyone involved with any work within the AAPI Community will continue to share that passion and motivation with others," Song says. Below is some information about each of the honorees.
Katie Constantine is currently a senior at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA where she is majoring in Media and Communications. She has been the President of Muhlenberg College's Asian Students Association for the past three years. Over the course of the past three years, she has advocated for students, installed a sense of community, and created a environment where students feel comfortable expressing their true selves. Since Muhlenberg is a smaller school in size, AAPI students don't have the luxury of having hundreds of students in their clubs. It is a testament to the Asian identifying students on campus for working twice as hard and speaking their voices. Katie is so proud of Muhlenberg's ASA and can't wait to see what the future holds and what amazing things these students will do!
Jessie Huang is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Sociology and minoring in Chinese and Education. As a 1.5 generation Chinese American immigrant who grew up in pre-dominantly White spaces in the South, Jessie was always made acutely aware of her race by her environment and those around her. Yet it was not until joining the Asian Students Association (ASA) in college that she gained an understanding of what it means to politically identity as an "Asian American" and learned the language to communicate her experiences as one. Jessie currently serves as the 2017-2018 ASA President, and is committed to making ASA an inclusive and empowered community, as well as to advocating for APIA spaces and resources at UNC Chapel Hill. While she cannot cook for the life of her, Jessie is a superb foodstagrammer and an even better eater.
Megan J Wang
Megan J Wang is a Taiwanese/Chinese American student at Vassar College. She holds multiple leadership positions on campus, from being the acting treasurer of her school's Asian Student Alliance, as well as serving as a leader of Vassar's newly founded Asian/ Asian American Studies Working Group. Aside from working to make her school's ASA a more politically active space that inspires Asian students on campus to be more critical of their positionality in not only PWI but POC spaces, she also contributes to UJIMA, a POC musical group dedicated to appreciating music of the African Diaspora. Megan is also a dedicated artist who strives to combine art and activism to challenge white institutions and their hegemonic bureaucracies. Her art also strives to unpack her personal journey as a member of the Asian diaspora. Follow her artistic journey on instagram @scorpioschemer