Emily Lohec | Staff Writer
This October through early November, Baylor University’s Department of Multicultural Affairs is hosting a month-long celebration for Asian and Pacific Americans.
This month long recognition is filled with activities such as Halloween costume contests, listening sessions, a fall retreat, mixers and banquet. The celebration ends with a showing of The Farewell, an award-winning movie of a Chinese love tale.
Two students who help oversee Baylor’s multicultural affairs department said they believe in appreciation of all cultures on campus. The events are open to the student body in order to be celebrated by everyone on campus.
Rachel Bay, Graduate Apprentice for The Department of Multicultural Affairs explains the reason why Asian and Pacific Americans are recognized throughout the celebration.
“The month is a time to celebrate cultures from a variety of different countries and backgrounds,” Bay said.
Lauren Vo, junior Coalition of Asian Students Intern for Multicultural Affairs, said she sees this as an opportunity for students who share the same background to get involved on campus. With her own ethnicity falling into this month, she said she feels as though she can celebrate who she is and inspire others to learn more.
“The Coalition of Asian Students in collaboration with the Department of Multicultural Affairs hosts events that are foundational to many Asian and Pacific American students’ experience here at Baylor,” Vo said. “Many students look forward to VSA Autumn Moon as a sort of homecoming experience, where alum return to celebrate Autumn Moon Festival. They look forward to Asianfest and Asian Heritage Banquet. Events like this accent the vibrant Asian and Pacific American presence at Baylor.”
Both of these groups encourage the participation from all students who walk the Baylor campus.
In addition, some students are unaware of the struggle certain cultures have when migrating to an entirely new country.
“Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month as is nationally celebrated, begins in May to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843,” Vo said. “It also marks the end of the completion of the end of the transcontinental railroad in which Chinese immigrants were dehumanized and faced overt racism, including violence.”
Both Bay and Vo feel they have learned the hardships and accomplishments for these cultures.
“My favorite thing about these events is that they really are celebrations. They’re fun and wildly nostalgic at the same time,” Vo said. “It’s a chance for me to unabashedly celebrate my culture without fear of judgment.”
Bay sees this opportunity as one to grow her own network and build strong relationships while continuing to learn the cultures of the world around us.
“My favorite thing about each heritage month is seeing how passionate students are about their personal heritages and cultures,” Bay said. “I get to work with some of our student’s leaders, and I am so proud of how tirelessly they work to put on events that showcase who they are.”
The Asian and Pacific American heritage month at Baylor will end on Nov. 15.