ASA celebrates Asian culture

Mallory Radney

The UW Oshkosh Asian Student Association brings different Asian cultures to campus to enlighten and educate students in light of Asian Heritage Month. ASA’s Oshkosh Student Association representative Emily Thao said she thinks one of the most important things about the Asian culture is the value of family. “For myself being Hmong, we are very welcoming to others who need family, and my culture holds a lot of traditions…it’s amazing how we still follow them today,” Thao said. Thao said the history of every Asian culture is very important, as well as the overall culture itself. “Every Asian culture is different, and I think that’s wonderful,” Thao said. “There’s not just one Asian culture.” Thao said ASA hosts the Holidays Around the World and the Asian Heritage Kickoff events, which benefit UWO by providing entertainment and a taste of a different culture. “I think these events really give a sense of home to those who come afar to study at UW Oshkosh and these events are fun, and I like how everyone comes together and [helps] out,” Thao said. ASA adviser Mai Xiong works with the students to help them develop leadership goals. “For the Asian Student Association, their actual goal is really to promote cultural, social [and] educational interests of all students involved at UW Oshkosh,” Xiong said. Xiong said the group promotes cultural awareness by holding workshops that are really successful in educating the UWO community. “They do that by holding workshops within their meetings that focus on different cultures, and they also coordinate the Asian heritage month, which is [April],” Xiong said. Xiong said ASA’s calendar has a variety of different workshops and activities going on this week, including Japanese Taiko Drumming and Cultural Food Night on Friday, April 17. “The cultural awareness part of [ASA] is really educating the students about their own culture, but also educating the campus community about the various Asian cultures that exist in their student body,” Xiong said. Xiong said the students involved with ASA also serve as the voice for all students who are interested in Asian culture. “There’s this misperception only Asian students can join [ASA], and that’s not really the case,” Xiong said. “We do have a larger proportion of Asians that join the group, but it would be for anybody who is interested in the Asian culture.” Xiong said ASA provides a support group for students of similar backgrounds to come together and have a community. “This is a student group, but they have really built [a] community that supports each other,” Xiong said. Xiong said the fact that students are able to feel like they have a community really plays a key role in the retention of students and making them feel comfortable on this campus. ASA treasurer Ceasar Mendros said religious beliefs and traditions are unique to Asian culture because they are derived from a long history. “Asian culture is very festive and colorful, which I think reflects to our personality,” Mendros said. Mendros said his favorite part about being involved with ASA is meeting people. “I love people,” Mendros said. “I get to meet a lot of them and create memories that I know I will treasure for the rest of my life.”