Seeking to represent and spread awareness of Asian culture and experiences is a key objective of the Asian Society for Intercultural Awareness Organization at Taylor.
The ASIA cabinet seeks to celebrate Asian culture, foster a place of cultural understanding and provide a space for relationship building through various events and activities throughout the year.
Co-presidents Asha Eicher and Michaela Schurr, along with their fellow cabinet members, have organized several different events this year.
“I have been very happy and proud with all the events we put on this year, but I think that my favorite events were the ones with our biggest turnouts, ‘Ramen Night’ and ‘Boba and Art,’” Schurr said. “I liked how there were so many students and families who came because it gave ASIA the opportunity to spread awareness of Asian culture to a variety of people.”
At ASIA’s ‘Boba and Art’ event, students and families were able to sit in the Student Center, mingle, paint and drink some tasty boba tea.
At ‘Ramen Night,’ students were served ramen by members of ASIA.
“Honestly, I’ve loved every event we’ve helped organize,” Eicher said. “An event especially significant to me, however, would probably be our collaboration with Global Engagement on ‘The Unfinished Story of Afghanistan.’ The event attempted to address the political crisis in Afghanistan through a gallery of pictures and artifacts that explored historical events as well as celebrated Afghan Art.”
Other events ASIA has put on include ‘A Watch-Gathering of Voices of Myanmar,’ ‘Lunar New Year’ and ‘Asian Heritage Month Panel.’
Eicher and Schurr share a passion for sharing their Asian heritage and culture with the Taylor community.
“I am an international student from India, and by joining ASIA in my sophomore year, I found a community at Taylor that made me feel at home,” Eicher said. “I saw getting involved with ASIA leadership during my junior year as an opportunity to give back to Taylor using my passions and background, and at the same time develop my leadership skills.”
Similarly, Schurr also joined the ASIA cabinet as a way to become a stronger leader.
“I wanted to find a way to get connected with one of Taylor’s many organizations and thought that taking on a leadership position would help me grow in my leadership communication and group skills,” Schurr said. “Also, I became friends with ASIA’s co-presidents from last year who encouraged me to apply for the position.”
This year, for Asian Heritage Month, Eicher and Schurr are hoping to put a bigger focus on Asian American identity. This is a topic they believe has not gotten enough attention at Taylor in previous years.
Eicher and Schurr encourage students to get involved with ASIA Organization by attending various events throughout the year or by applying to be a cabinet member. They believe that a key part of the organization is building relationships and that can be accomplished through getting involved.
The co-presidents agree that being involved with ASIA has deepened their understanding of cultural diversity and hope that the Taylor community seeks to do the same.
They are grateful for all of the work that ASIA cabinet members have accomplished and for the incredible aid, guidance and support from the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) faculty.
Eicher and Schurr stressed the welcoming nature of the ASIA community and how they strive for everyone who participates in their events and activities to feel valued and appreciated for who they are.
“We have so much to learn from every single person around us and especially from those who come from different backgrounds than ours,” Eicher said. “It is definitely challenging to step outside our comfort zones, but embracing uncomfortableness is the only way to grow understanding.”