The Asian American Student Association’s purpose is to promote awareness of Asian and Asian-American cultures and issues within the University, the local community, and beyond, in order to foster a campus community more inclusive to AAPI identities. As the oldest and largest cultural organization on campus, AASA serves as a community and resource for all those interested in participating in our activities. The theme for the 2019-2020 year is Beyond, which can be divided into three parts: thinking beyond, moving beyond, and continuing beyond.
Vanderbilt is nestled at the heart of one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and the explosive growth of cultural diversity is reflected by our demographics in the student population. During this transition, AASA plays a major role by celebrating cultural preservation while advocating for modern movements in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. As students, we want to build initiatives to educate ourselves about current news and events, but also understand the deeper roots of Asian American history in the United States. Our blended heritage is easily dismissed in textbooks and hypersexualized in media. But with the new wave of Asian representation in Hollywood and a push for diversity in politics, we are more equipped than ever to think critically about the world beyond our local community.
Moving beyond refers to the breaking of stereotypes that have been placed on Asian, American, and Asian American communities that we are part of. With more diversity comes new perspectives, values, and ways of life adding reinforcing the Asian American narrative. Rather than remaining where we are in the comfort of our own identity and people groups, moving beyond calls upon each of us to challenge our current perspectives and explore what may be uncomfortable or controversial. Our growing presence on social media invites you to an open platform for engagement with other organizations and interest groups. For some, this may be engaging in conversation about Blackness in the Asian community; for others, it’s going to an AASA social event for the first time. Regardless of where you come from and who you associate with, push the limits of your comfort zone.
Lastly, AASA strives to maintain this vision for the years to come by establishing a standardized system of record keeping, so that our organization can optimize our ability to move forward. Through an online database of detailed preparation and reflection of all programming, our board will be able to better serve the community and transition between each year of leadership. Additionally, we are working to redefine the role of general membership, so that any level of involvement in AASA, whether as a devoted LNYF choreographer or a regular attendee for committee, receives its deserved recognition. We also hope to establish an improved Big and Lil program, as well as initiate a partnership with graduate and faculty mentors.