By Matthew Harrison, Broadside Correspondent
George Mason University’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services (ODPS) is hosting events on campus for the annual Asian Pacific Heritage Month (APAHM) throughout April and May.
Normally, Asian Pacific Heritage Month kicks off on May 1, but because of finals, Mason moved the events back to accommodate its students.
ODPS has hosted several events starting on April 1, where students performed open mic comedy, read poems, danced and sang about Asian heritage.
“A shared history, culture and achievements can help students connect to build a stronger community,” said Dr. Shaoxian Yu, associate director for ODPS.
The events offer students of Asian heritage, and non-Asian heritage, a unique opportunity to be exposed to different cultural backgrounds, customs and knowledge of the Asian culture.
“At George Mason University, our hallmark is diversity, and these events offer students the bigger picture of Asian heritage,” said Yu.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month will host a festival on Friday, May 7 from 7 to 10 p.m. located at the Center for the Art’s Concert Hall. This event will showcase a diversity of music and Asian American art.
Past APAHM events, such as Filipino Culture Night, had over 100 students in attendance. Many of the students learned about Filipino culture and certain issues some might face when first coming to America.
“These events, like every event, are important because [they] embrace the diversity of George Mason,” said Yu.
Other events going on this week include an Asian Pacific American Student Game Room Social on Thursday, April 22, located at SUB I in the Game Room from 6 to 9 p.m., and an APAHM conference Saturday, May 1 from noon to 5 p.m. located in Enterprise Hall.
“The more you learn the better you are equipped when working with people from different cultures,” said Yu about the importance of diversity.
“The events are trying to inform faculty and students about Asian Pacific American heritage through interaction and discussions,” said Yu.
Events like the APA Senior Banquet on Saturday, May 8 from 7 to 10 p.m., honor the academic achievements of the graduating senior class students.
Students are offered dinner at the event and will be entertained with Asian cultural performances.
According to the APAHM official website, Asian Pacific Americans currently account for 4 percent of the United States’ population.
The ever-growing change in size and ethnic composition is a testament to Asian Pacific Americans’ cultural importance in the United States.
Mason prides itself on the diversity of its students and the importance of understanding the cultures they come from. The APAHM events try to educate the public on Asian heritage and its importance in students’ everyday life.
For more information on Asian Pacific Heritage Month, please visit http://tinyurl.com/y2golql.