APISU seeks to break stereotypes, encourage education

Sept. 26, 2011

April Wefler
[email protected]

Couches and chairs fill up in the ROAR office as members of the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (APISU) prepare for a game of charades. A club that believes in end­ing each meeting with a fun, engaging group activ­ity, APISU continues to be prominent involved group on campus.

APISU makes a point to incorporate all of Asia and the Pacific Islands, not just a select few Asian countries.

Bryan Pattirane, presi­dent of APISU, is Indone­sian and said that many group members come from all over continental Asia.

“We stick to APISU because we like the name. It’s more the name; we let people know about Asian countries, like the Middle East,” added Pattirane.

APISU is planning events for the semester, including a bonfire on Oct. 12 at Four Diamonds. Last year, the bonfire was can­celled because of the fire ban, but the fire ban has been lifted for this year.

“Past events have been successful. Two years ago, we had [the bonfire] on the West Lawn [and we had] open, good weather. In an hour and a half, all the food was gone,” said Pattirane.

The bonfire has differ­ent acts from the differ­ent cultures included in APISU. In the past two years, an Indian dancer and belly dancer have per­formed.

Every fall semester, APISU has a RACE, or Raging Asian Cultural Event. This year’s RACE will be in November.

It teaches about dif­ferent Asian and Pacific Islander countries each year, so the same country is not featured two years in a row.

“It’s to educate and break the stereotypes,” Pattirane said about RACE. “There’s differ­ent cultures, different languages. People have this idea that we’re all the same; some people argue with us if we don’t look Asian but [we] say we are. Just because we’re all dif­ferent doesn’t mean we’re not Asian.”

APISU members bring in artifacts, or other items of cultural significance, that they have around their homes and share them with the group.

Members have the chance to enjoy foreign foods, too; APISU orders food from the various Asian restaurants in town and tries to ensure the food is authentic.

APISU is more than just a club, though; members interact with each other outside of meetings.

“One of our main points is to bond with our mem­bers. We aren’t one of those organizations where you just meet and don’t see each other otherwise,” Pattirane explained.

“We consider ourselves friends. We hang out, go bowling and help new freshmen adjust to the col­lege life,” he continued.

Last year, the club was made up of mostly Filipi­nos. This year, there are more Korean members because of a recent influx of foreign exchange stu­dents.

“The [Korean Philan­thropy Club] and my club sponsored 15-20 foreign exchange students from Korea this past summer,” concluded Pattirane.

Students who do not have Asian or Pacific Is­lander heritage may still attend APISU meetings and talk freely. Anyone in­terested in joining APISU is welcome to attend one of their weekly Friday meetings at 5 p.m. in the ROAR Office.