AAA welcomes new students with UnificAsian 2011: New Directions

It was the fifth annual UnificAsian event AAA has hosted.
Students at the sixth annual UnificAsian play an icebreaker game Sunday at Memorial Union. The Asian American Association hosted the orientation, which included guest speakers and lunch.

The Asian American Association hosted its fifth annual UnificAsian event 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in Memorial Union.

“This is basically a way for new Asian Americans to help make the transition from high school to college, and do so successfully,” AAA member Chanvavy Kea said.

UnificAsian 2011: New Directions is an event organized to help orient freshman and transfer students of Asian descent to MU life.

“It’s a great way to meet a bunch of new friends,” AAA Vice President Kevin Guevara said. “Everyone sort of gathers together to become a family.”

Attendees were offered a chance to meet and greet members of the MU Asian community, and were treated to a free lunch provided by Okii Mama, a restaurant in the Columbia area run by MU alumni.

“I came mainly to meet new people and learn about some organizations,” freshman Ethan Jain-Washburn said. “I actually heard about UnificAsian when I was walking around Rollins with my high school shirt on that said ‘Asian Kid,’ my nickname in high school. Kevin (Guevara) stopped me and told me about this meeting, and I am glad I came.”

Roro Ma is a sophomore trying to get more involved this year than she did her freshman year.

“I want to find some new organizations to join and meet some new people,” Ma said.

The event is a place for Asian Americans, who represent a small percent of students on campus, to learn about various organizations and events geared toward the Asian community.

“We’re trying to get students from the community involved with groups of the same interest,” Guevara said. “We’ve got various cultural groups and even an Asian dance team.”

A guest speaker and MU alumna came to the event to talk about Asian stereotypes that permeate the academic and professional fields. Various icebreaker activities brought the students together.

“This is a place where freshmen can network with Asian-American students as well as professors and other faculty,” Guevara said. “In addition, they can learn about the Asian American Association and what it is we do here at Mizzou.”

AAA runs various social, service and advocacy events all throughout the area throughout the year. These events are not exclusively for the Asian community.

“We run events and get involved in all sorts of other cultures and groups,” Director of the Multicultural Center Pablo Mendoza said. “For example, during Black History Month, we help educate people about black history and culture, and during Native American Awareness Month we educate people about their heritage.”

Mendoza said minority groups such as AAA help minority students who sometimes feel isolated find some support.

“A lot of majority groups question whether we’re sort of creating an exclusive group and cutting other groups out,” Mendoza said. “But what they sometimes don’t realize is that they often end up forming their own exclusive group, and leaving some minorities out. If you think about it, if you’re a white American in China, you’re going to want to be friends with Americans, because you have more in common with them.”

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