Asian American student organizations select future leaders

The elections occurred during Asian American Awareness Month.

A Japanese legend says that if 1,000 paper cranes are folded and tied together with string, a wish will be granted.

Thursday, members of the Asian American Association had one wish: to help Japan recover from the March 10 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

“We’re trying to raise awareness for Japan and Asian Americans in general,” sophomore AAA member Tessa Heung said. “We’re wishing for Japan to recover from the tsunami.”

At about 4 p.m. Thursday, about 300 cranes had been folded, but sophomore member Jennifer Liu said they would continue folding until the 1,000 cranes were completed.

The following evening, members of the organization performed at a variety show in Memorial Union’s Mark Twain Ballroom. Acts ranged from hip-hop and Bollywood dance to theatrical singing. Additionally, Adriel Luis, a spoken-word artist from the group iLL-Literacy, performed at the show.

These events are all part of MU’s first Asian American Awareness Month, which will conclude next week with a banquet.

In the midst of all of the chaos and fun of planning and hosting all of the month’s festivities, AAA and its umbrella organizations held their executive board elections.

Senior Andrew Tsao was elected the next AAA President, following in the footsteps of senior Christyona Pham. Pham is leaving the helm of AAA to co-chair Four Front.

“I am very excited for the next year with AAA,” Tsao said. “We have an awesome executive board already prepping ideas to share with Mizzou and Columbia.”

In addition to continuing AAA Month, one of Tsao’s biggest goals is to enhance visibility for Asian American culture and issues to the community. He thinks this can be achieved through inspirational speakers and special film screenings.

“We’re still in the planning stages now, but we are sure it’s going to be a great year for AAA,” Tsao said.

The South Asian Students Association held its elections Wednesday. The organization’s next president is senior Sheela Lal, who said she already has plans in motion for next year.

“I'm looking forward the upcoming school year for several reasons,” she said. “The executive board is very diverse, and the spectrum of backgrounds will help create better events. One of my personal goals is to expand on the past three years and make SASA more inclusive while pluralistic. I want to start discussions not only within SASA, but the MU campus about the South Asian culture and what it means to be diverse.”

Juniors Frank Orallo and Barbara Maningat will be serving as Filipino American Students Association Co-Presidents.

“What we do as an organization has grown so much in the past couple years, and I’m so proud to be a part of it all,” Maningat said in her platform. “Francis and I are committing to putting in the time and effort needed to make sure that all the progress we’ve made continues. We all chitchatted last week about what we’d like for next year’s FASA, and it seemed like we want to just stay afloat. You know, survive, not drop off. But Frank and I don’t plan on just keeping afloat. We’re taking it to the next level.”

To do this, the duo has some ideas it would like to implement. Among these are adding a fashion show to Filipino Heritage Month in October and moving meetings to Meechu’s, the only Filipino market in Columbia.

“I do not just want MU-FASA to exist,” Orallo said. “I want it to thrive and move forward.”

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