Throughout April, student groups and faculty members are celebrating Asian Heritage Month by hosting events that are aimed to inform students on Asian cultures in an entertaining and inclusive way.
The events include a fashion show, which happened Wednesday night, Vietnamese Cultural Night, Taste of Nations: Korea, “Jouanah,” A Hmong Cinderella Play, Hmong Heritage in Business, Sushi Night and more. The events are taking place throughout the entire month of April and all students are welcome to attend.
Adviser to the Asian Student Association and Hmong Student Union MaiKhou Xiong said she started planning these events in the fall and it involves a lot of collaboration with students, student organizations, staff/faculty and the community.
“These events have a lasting impact on students,” Maikhou Xiong said. “For the students from these cultural backgrounds, they see their culture being celebrated and represented on our campus, (creating an inclusive environment and campus climate.) Additionally, these events provide an opportunity for students to share their culture with others. For others interested in the culture or not familiar with the various cultures of Asia, it provides them with an opportunity to engage and further their learning and understanding.”
President and Vice President of Hmong Student Union and Asian Student Association Pa Houa Xiong said she helped plan all of the events along with her E-board and adviser.
“It was just planning out what we want to do, all the cultures that we want to represent and reaching out in collaboration with other organizations that are for the asian culture such as Club Nippon or ISA, with the international students, etc,” Pa Houa Xiong said.
Pa Houa Xiong said this month gives a little glimpse of groups that are underrepresented on campus.
“It’s just like a month of expression because this is a way to teach or educate the campus about our own cultures and who we are, where we’re from,” Pa Houa Xiong said. “It doesn’t have to be a history, but it just shows a little glimpse, like this is what we like to do or this is what we do for celebration or what we wear traditionally, stuff like that.”
Pa Houa Xiong said the main problem is not having faculty or an adviser that she, or other Asian students, can relate to.
“I think that was one of the bigger problems, and not being able to reach out because a lot of students are first-generation students so their parents never went to college,” Pa Houa Xiong said. “But I mean there are a certain staff and students like us where we try to be there for them.”
Junior Sheila Yang helped plan the fashion show Wednesday and helped plan the fashion show, with by finding volunteers for modeling, asking around for clothing, creating a playlist for the show and more.
“We tried to find everything, but it was really hard to find Middle Eastern clothing, but we did get some last-minute,” Yang said. “So we were really happy about that, and overall we had a great representation of Asia.”
Yang said she plans on attending many of the speaking events as well as the Hmong play.
“Overall I just want everyone on campus to celebrate Asian Heritage month with us and to be open and learn about these new ethnicities and new cultures so they are more aware,” Yang said.
Freshman Michael Pham attended the fashion show and will be helping with the play and attending sushi night, Vietnamese night and more.
“What I’m hoping for is that other people that are asian who are not experienced with other cultures, so they’re Hmong, or they’re Japanese, they get to learn and understand cultures of other ethnic groups so they can show UW Oshkosh that there’s a bigger picture in our world and our world is diverse,” Pham said.