Asian Pacific Islander Student Association

AsianSliderFall 2013 saw the Asian Pacific Islander Student Association’s kick-off and initiation. APISA director, Yukimi Mizuno, shared, “Our mission is to create an inclusive community that provides service in order to foster the support of students.” They seek to “raise awareness of API issues, educate students and to inspire API students to know that we can all be leaders, even though we tend to be seen as quiet or not [quick to take] leadership roles.”

The APISA has weekly meetings, at which they “have a fun ice-breaker game, which can be a discussion of a current event or a news article—just an issue in general—that APIs face,” said Michael Stewart, APISA marketing and public outreach coordinator. “We dive into it and see how it affects their lives, and hopefully they find solidarity through that and can come together.”

They have also hosted potlucks and other field trip events. One event they hosted “brought Alan Sugiyama, a leader among API communities in the Seattle area,” said Mizuno. Stewart added, “He talked about how Asians actually protested in the ‘70s at UW and in the International District. You hear a lot of stories about Asians being quiet, so we want to break that stereotype. Yes, you can be a leader and yes, you can speak up.”

APISA works to empower students, build community, network and “raise awareness,” added Roni Limardi, external coordinator for APISA. Stewart continued, “we want to create a platform where people can learn about Asian American and Pacific Islander culture, a topic which is generally not very covered. When we talk about race, it’s a lot of black and white, but there are also a lot of other issues within other groups that rarely get [discussed] in textbooks and classes. I think it’s important for us to be here because we provide that education for them.”

“Working with others and learning how to communicate with each other are important,” said Erick Ngo, APISA’s financial coordinator. The skills he has learned will be carried into “future careers.”