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The Scarlet & Black

Asian-American Association attends Wisconsin conference

Photo contributed
Photo contributed
Photo contributed

Last weekend, the Asian-American Association (AAA) attended the Midwest Asian-American Students Union (MAASU) Conference at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The conference provided the opportunity for Asian-American student groups from different colleges to come together, have discussions and participate in workshops and activities. Current and future AAA cabinet members attended, in the hope that the conference would provide them with new perspectives.

“We took this expecting to see like a leadership conference and hoping to take a lot from it and implement it to our club in Grinnell,” said co-leader Jenny Chi ’17.

Students also aimed to connect to the larger Asian-American community. “It came out of a desire to connect with the national Asian Pacific Islander community and then bringing that experience back to here,” said co-leader Sophie Wright ’17.

Each student attended three different workshops to maximize their experience. Future co-leader of the Asian American Association, SoYeong Jeong ’18 admitted that her workshop about educating the Asian American community exposed some gaps in her knowledge about the community.

“It was so embarrassing, the fact that I don’t know like anything about Asian-American history in America … that made me realize that I need to be more informed about my history,” she said.

It seemed to be a common consensus that attending the conference was an eye-opener to the privileges of being a Grinnell College student. Attending MAASU helped the members of the AAA realize that being socially aware is a privilege. Several students from other colleges shared problematic opinions in their workshops.

“It was really hard to really engage with this community because not everyone is on the same page, not everyone has the opportunity to really come to a liberal arts setting and learn about all this discourse,” said co-leader Anthony Lam ’17. “I felt really privileged going to Grinnell.”

Although the conference opened students’ eyes to the advantages of their liberal arts education, they felt that most of the information at MAASU wasn’t anything new.

“My workshops were not that informative,” said future co-leader Jeff Li ’18.

Still, getting off campus was a major advantage for those who attended the conference. “I thought it was a good exposure to being outside the Grinnell bubble, to seeing what other Asian-American Associations were like and the committees they have and interacting with them,” Li said.

—Editor’s note: Jenny Chi is a copy editor  for The S&B.

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