A senior in Human Development and Family Sciences, Connie has been a part of the Asian Pacific Cultural Center for three years. Described by members of Diversity Development as sociable, compassionate, and very responsible, Connie tries to build community via connecting all the Asian and Pacific Islander groups. Her involvement on campus – in the Vietnamese Student Association, the Teo-Chew Association, and Associated Students of OSU – has led her to be deemed a “life balance expert” by her peers.
Why Oregon State?
I am from Hillsboro, Oregon and always wanted to stay close to home. I chose Oregon State University because many of my family members went here as well. As a freshman, I lived with my aunt who was a second year Master’s student in Pharmacy. I got to know a lot of people at OSU right away. So I had an immediate sense of community and belonging.
Why did you get involved with the Oregon State Asian Pacific Cultural Center?
I visited the Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) as a freshman for a potluck. Then I kept visiting because it was a good place to meet people. I identify as Asian, so I decided to get involved.
Favorite thing about the APCC?
The APCC can teach the Oregon State community about culture and social justice by providing a comfortable environment where people can ask their questions. We meet people where they are.
Although we do a lot of passive programming at the APCC, some of my favorite programs have been events where the community has been actively engaged. For example, in my second year at the APCC, we put on an event called “Racial Harmony”. People from all sorts of different backgrounds took pictures of themselves, printed them out, and wrote about their identities on those pictures. This allowed them to define themselves and their identities in their own words. We hung up the pictures around the APCC for all to see, so that they could learn about the complexity of identity.
Another APCC event which means a lot to me personally is the Lunar New Year Celebration. I grew up celebrating this festival with my family every year. But since I’m at school now, I can’t go back home to take part in it. So I like that the APCC puts it on every year and that I can celebrate even when I am away from home.
What have you learned?
I’ve learned a lot about social justice issues. While I attended a recent conference on students of color creating change, I noticed that the Oregon State students who also attended with me had very good ideas on how to create change and inclusivity. I think this has a lot to do with Oregon State Diversity Development’s efforts in catering to the needs of students who are not of the dominant culture.
I also got a lot of experience in budgeting and the day-to-day activities that go into running a center by working at the APCC which I don’t think I would have gotten elsewhere.
Right now, I am thinking about two options. I am thinking of either taking a year off, gaining teaching experience, applying to a Master’s program in teaching and then becoming a teacher. I want to use what I’ve learned at OSU and the APCC by teaching kids about cultural competency.
I am also interested in doing a Master’s in College Student Services Administration here at Oregon State so that I can continue working with college students.