October marks the celebration of Asian heritage through food, crafts and conversation.

Ekta Anand

APIDAM lantern exhibit at Rand Hall, pictured October 20. (Hustler Staff / Ekta Anand)

Starting with their Night market and continuing their latest event, a seminar called “Speaking to be Seen”, the Association of Asian American Students of Vanderbilt (AASA) hosted campus-wide programming in October to honor American Asian Pacific Islander Month (APIDAM).

Usually celebrated in May, APIDAM is celebrated in October in Vanderbilt due to summer vacation. Students were able to participate in a variety of activities including food, crafts, writing, and seminars that explore Asian culture and its relevance today.

“As we try to solidify our identities, I think it’s important to have this training guide, navigating a lot of who we are as Asians / Asian Americans,” said Mikayla Kim. , AASA APIDAM team member, in an email to The Hustler.

“I think it was exhilarating,” said Kev Jung, a senior who attended the AASA Night Market. “Just to see the whole Vandy community, not just the early years but everyone, come celebrate Asian culture, I just gotta enjoy it.”

APIDAM also presented an event entitled Highlighted, a tribute to the experiences of prejudice, animosity or injustice of Americans of Asian origin or of the Pacific Islands (AAPI). Students had the opportunity to write anonymous stories about their experiences as members of the AAPI community, which are now on display in the Rand Dining Room alongside lanterns, representing light and festival in Asian culture.

“We wanted to make a declaration of peace, to offer our condolences to all members of our community who have been affected by hate crimes over the past year,” said Fiona Wu, AASA coordinator for APIDAM. “We came across the Foreigners Project from New York, and it became our inspiration.

The Strangers Project is an organization that collects handwritten stories from a multitude of people on a wide range of topics. This work is presented in various exhibitions, creating spaces for people to read the stories of others and to weave a common narrative of personal experiences. New York-based designer Brandon Doman hand-collects stories from people across the country.

The Brought to Light exhibit will be on display at Rand for the remainder of the month, open to all students and staff to read and enjoy.

The last AASA Speaking to be Seen event on October 10 included a virtual seminar with “asian boss girl», A podcast on the presence of Asian American women in the media. The speakers were members of the podcast: Melody Cheng, Helen Wu and Janet Wang.

I believe it was a success, ”said Kim. “We organized the event in the hope of opening discussions on how our community can come out and proclaim our visibility to the world, and we had a pretty large turnout.”

APIDAM will end with the Taste of Asia, a celebration of Asian culture with dishes from eight different Asian countries. This event will take place on October 31 at 6 p.m. CDT in the Ballroom of the Center de la vie étudiante.

“We serve over 10 restaurants across Nashville, and we’re really trying to bring them together for the community here in Vanderbilt,” said Jack Mok, president of AASA. “Taste of Asia is one of our flagship events, and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss.”


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