Monday, September 20, 2010

Joining an APA group on campus by Janani Ramachandran, Vice Chair of Development

Why join an “Asian” group? I don’t want to be pigeon-holed or labeled… and I mean, I’m not even that “Asian”…. Arriving at Penn my freshman year, these thoughts ran through my mind. But, after an eye-opening APALI retreat, and meeting some wonderful friends who were passionate about APA issues, I was pulled into being active in Penn’s APA community and it has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college experience.

I realized that involving myself in an APA group, and learning about the culture and the issues which its members share didn’t prevent me from enjoying friendships and experiences outside the Asian community. In fact, I found that by better understanding my own culture and being able to appreciate the cultures of others, I didn’t become more stereotypically “Asian”, but that I became more aware of what made me proud to be “American”. I learned to appreciate all the values and freedoms that this country gives us, and respect the opportunities it afforded to our parents and grandparents.

Sharing a piece of tradition with my friends, whether it was doing a traditional Filipino dance, singing in the traditional Karnatic Indian style, or eating mooncakes and mochi was fun! And, through talking to friends about their experiences going to Chinese school, how it was growing up in a town where nobody was Asian, and how they struggled to identify themselves, I discovered a lot about how my own traditions and experiences shape my outlook on life.

Joining an APA group on campus is an opportunity to learn and grow, regardless of your ethnic background or origin. It’s a way to express yourself and rejoice with others as they express themselves. For me, it was a way to rise above ethnicity and background and appreciate the common ties between several cultures. Understanding your origin and being proud of who you are is a big part of being comfortable with yourself. And, being involved in the APA community has really given me that…. Not to mention it opened my eyes to a ton of delicious food… which is always a plus!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mental Health Camp

Last Wednesday, we had our third annual mental health camp. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Eran Magen spoke about how to be a better listener, and hence a better friend. His workshop was very informative and interactive! Afterward, people stuck around for some of our table events, which included a time management session with reps from Wiengarten, APA and mental health, a depression screening and some graduate student tables. There was also free massages!
Checking out the DP article on it here.

Nutter and the Census

Last Wednesday, Mayor Nutter came to Penn's campus to promote the Census! Our very own chair, Rohan Grover, introduced him. Check out the full story here. Make sure you send in your Census form!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Census...Again

Yes, I'm writing about the Census again! Besides today being Easter, today also marks the first day of Census week at Penn! Again, remember to drop your forms in the box outside of your College House's information desk.

Here's a picture of us at our last GBM, promoting our Census to

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Diversity at Penn

Recently, an opinion piece appeared in the Daily Pennsylvanian about the presidential debates that centered around diversity. Read it here. Here's our response, also published in the DP.

Ashwin Shandilya wrote about how minorities at Penn are being “overzealous about diversity.” He asks if there was a recent wave of discrimination that he had missed.

To answer his question, no, he did not miss a recent wave of discrimination. We are used to living a life where everyone appears satisfied, but remember there exists an American tradition of systematic marginalization. It’s crucial to be aware of the racial disparities on this campus.

To us, diversity is not a nebulous ideal that we use to legitimize our interests. There are real inequalities on this campus that need to be addressed. That is why we collaborated with other coalitions to put on the presidential debate. Perhaps Shandilya heard something that he did not agree with, but the debate served as an open forum. The Asian Pacific Student Coalition’s questions dealt specifically with mental health disparities and supporting Asian American and South Asian Studies. Indeed, not being able to learn about our history is something that minorities — including Shandilya — have to “go through,” which is why it was central to hear the candidate’s opinions on these affairs. Whether or not the debate was important to him as an individual is not nearly as important as whether the opportunity exists for the nearly 2,500 Asian American students on Penn’s campus.

Marginalization is not a binary up to an individual’s judgment, but rather a system applied to a population.

Census 2010

Tomorrow marks the final day that Census forms need to be sent in. But for college students, tomorrow is when we finally get the forms! APSC has been working with the school to make sure that students remember to fill out the Census and that they hand them in. On Thursday, April 1, all students that live in College Houses will receive their Census form. They have until April 9th to hand in those forms. There will be boxes at the front of their information desks for them to drop off their forms. The College Houses will also be holding a contest to see which house hands in the most forms! Next Wednesday at 4:30, Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia will be stopping by Lower Quad to celebrate the Census. Free pizza!

Make sure you count! The Census is of utmost importance--it's how each district gets federal money and how Congressional representatives are split up! Don't let Asian Americans get under-counted. Encourage your parents to fill out their forms (but remember to fill out yours too)!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Third Annual Mental Health Camp--Let's Care About our Mental Health

Asian American women have a higher rate of depression and suicide. APSC is dedicated to providing support for those that need it and this year, we worked with Counseling and Psychological Services to bring you another Mental Health Camp. Make sure to come!! Lots of food =]!/event.php?eid=103378959700706&ref=mf

Come attend this year’s Mental Health Camp organized by students for students!

This year’s Keynote speaker is Dr. Eran Magen who will lead an interactive session on how to transform our social interactions into opportunities for stress reduction by making them positive and supportive. Developing greater peer support will enhance overall well-being of students.

The Camp will also have information that deals with specific issues concerning Penn students like Depression, Perfectionism, Minority mental health concerns, time management, work/life balance and much more. . . Representatives from student groups and CAPS will be available for consultation.

Free Dinner and massages are provided for attendees!!!

Sponsors: Counseling and Psychological Services, Asian Pacific Student Coalition, Lamda Alliance, United Minorities Council, Umoja, Rapline, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA), Penn Medical Students