Asian Connection fosters community, cultural awareness
Kim Chaudoin |
One of Lipscomb’s newest student organizations, Asian Connection, was launched last month to provide community for students and to foster cultural awareness at the university.
Starting an organization for Asian students at Lipscomb is a dream come true for Cindy Hong.
Hong, a sophomore corporate management major from Nashville, says she has been thinking about starting a club to serve Lipscomb’s Asian students for about a year. With the encouragement of her roommate, Angie Medina, president of Raîces, Lipscomb’s Latino student organization, Hong made her dream a reality this spring.
And Asian Connection, or A-CON, was founded.
“I was not sure that there were many Asian students here or that there would be interest in a club like this, but I have been so excited about the big interest we have received,” says Hong. “We had 30 students interested in being a part of A-CON right away.”
Hong says A-CON was born out of her experience as an Asian student at Lipscomb.
“I wanted to create a community for Asian students here. When I first came to Lipscomb, it was difficult for me to find other Asian students and to connect on a personal level,” she shares.
The goals for A-CON are to create a community for students, to serve as an advocate and to create awareness of and to educate the larger Lipscomb community about Asian culture.
“With all that is going on in the world, race is not always an easy topic to discuss,” explains Hong. “I want A-CON to serve as a safe place for students to ask questions, to become informed and to learn from each other.”
Hong stresses that students do not have to be Asian to be a part of A-CON. “You can just be curious about or enjoy various aspects of Asian culture. This is a place to learn about and celebrate this culture. I want A-CON to be an organization that showcases this culture … and to be a home-away-from-home for Asian students who are international students and thousands of miles away from home.”
A-CON has established its inaugural slate of officers, who represent seven Asian cultures. “I am so proud of the diversity of our officers,” Hong says. “It also reflects our desire to make this an organization for anyone who is interested as well as our passion for this organization.”
President: Cindy Hong, sophomore
Vice President: Amy Wu, sophomore
Activities Director: Ghia Gutierrez, freshman
Historian: Madeline Phan, junior
Treasurer: Chad Phan, freshman
Secretary: Niyati Pathak, junior
Han-Sheng Chen, associate professor of finance in Lipscomb’s College of Business, is A-CON’s advisor.
Since the club is only a month old, Hong says they have not hosted any activities yet, but are already making plans for next school year.
“I want to talk to people on campus and find out what they want from a community,” she says. “I want to know if they are interested in learning more about Asian music, foods and other cultural aspects or if there are topics or issues that students would like to discuss or learn more about. You can learn so much by just talking to others.”
But, Hong’s primary goals for A-CON are to create community and to be a resource on campus.
“The role of organizations such as A-CON is helping each other learn,” explains Hong. “It all comes back to being a community. It is important that students know we are a resource for them. I want students to know we are here to support them, to listen and to be a safe space. We have been super blessed by the support we have already received both on campus and from those who don’t have a connection to Lipscomb.”