Asiantation allows bonding through collective ethnicity

By Lisa Chung

Fourteen years ago, a group of Asian American students on campus started Asiantation, an annual program that opens doors for the Asian American community and allows students to teach, learn and work together to become more involved on campus.

This year, Asiantation will be held at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6 in the Illini Union Ballroom.

“Over the years, Asiantation has come to encompass more than a mere presentation of the various Asian American organizations,” said Linda Luk, program coordinator of the Asian American Cultural Center. “It has evolved into an outreach program that encourages Asian American students to become part of campus life in both minority and nonminority affairs.”

“Asiantation essentially acts as a starting point,” said Justine Lee, head coordinator of the Asian American Student Housing Organization and junior in Business. “A lot of Asian American students feel (they are in) a comfort zone among other Asian American students.”

Luk also described Asiantation as a good starting point for new students.

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    “We hope that in the four years (the students) are here, they will spread their wings and get involved with other student organizations,” she said.

    “Asiantation will be set up like a mini Quad Day,” said Richard Kuo, recruitment chair of the Asian Pacific American Coalition and junior in LAS.

    There will be 16 Asian American student organizations and 20 non-Asian student organizations at booths.

    Student organizations will perform skits and cultural dances while administrative members will present formal speeches on various topics.

    “We’re able to create a performance to give freshmen the opportunity to see the Asian American organizations on campus,” Kuo said.

    “Among other speakers, Vice Chancellor Renee Romano will touch upon topics pertaining to diversity and multicultural issues that address the Asian American community,” said Brian Peng, the Illini Union Board’s Asian American committee chair and junior in Business.

    “(Asiantation) is helpful because a lot of the Asian students on campus aren’t really aware of what our campus has to offer,” Kuo said. “(Students) can come to Asiantation and see the many different organizations that they may or may not be interested in.”

    In the past, Asiantation was sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Coalition. This is the first year that both the Illini Union Board and the Asian American Student Housing Organization will be co-sponsoring the event.