Asian American student organizations host annual cultural event

Eunice Ali

The Asian American Culture Committee and the Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective, welcomed new students in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom on Thursday night. 

The annual event, titled You Bring Out the Asian-American in Me: United in One, referred to as YBO, featured YouTube artist Jason Chen and was intended to encourage new students to pursue their passions in college. 

Public health junior Mimi Lam, APAC director of operations and co-leader of YBO, said the team chose YouTube singer Jason Chen as the guest artist with the hope that students could learn about what it means to find their passions, despite cultural pressures as Asian-Americans. Chen himself studied economics in college and worked briefly in accounting before pursuing his dream to become a singer.

Desiree Pham, AAC chair, co-leader of YBO and international relations and global studies senior, said she wanted freshmen to be part of the UT family, regardless of country of origin.

“I’m really excited,” Pham said. “I can’t wait for people to see what we’ve done.”

Lam met Pham through a leadership institute two years ago, and the two have been friends since then. Lam said they started planning for YBO in May 2015 and grew closer in the summer.

Special education senior Andrea Hoang, who tabled for the Vietnamese Students Association, said she found a sense of community through VSA. Hoang said both her mother and sister were involved in VSA when they attended UT.

Student Programming Advisor Lisa Dela Cruz said the students involved have worked diligently to put on the event.

“This event is a great example of what students can accomplish on this campus,” Dela Cruz said. “That’s the major purpose of this event: If you get connected to UT and really utilize the resources that it has, you can really accomplish great things.”

Pham said funding for this event came from partnerships with the University Union, Center for Asian American Studies and the Student Government.

Lam said AAC — a committee within Campus Events+Entertainment — is focused on culture and the media, while APAC – part of the Multicultural Engagement Center – is focused on social justice and educating people on issues such as racism through workshops.