Campus, News

APID Heritage Month kicks off celebrations with a campus event

Students gathered at the University Student Union North Lawn to enjoy complimentary food while engaging with a variety of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi (APID) student organizations in celebration of APID Heritage Month on April 10.

This kickoff extravaganza was the first of six planned events designed to celebrate APID Heritage Month.

The event provided an opportunity for the diverse Asian communities on campus to unite and educate the Long Beach State community.

Students were encouraged to explore informational booths to gain insights and have their food cards stamped before indulging in complimentary chicken or tofu and rice bowls.

The celebration also featured a friendship bracelet station, a henna tattoo vendor and free Vietnamese coffee and tea samples from the Little Saigon-based chain 7 Leaves Cafe.

“We have the chance to bring all 14 of our APID-adjacent student organizations under the same umbrella this month,” Shannyn Sayula, the assistant director of the APID Resource Center said.

Sayula said that an event like this gives all clubs a “space to be visible.”

While Pacific Islanders represent only 0.22% of students at CSULB, the Asian demographic is the second-largest, making up about 21.4% of the student body, according to the Institutional Research and Analytics office at CSULB.

Not only did the event bring awareness to communities in the college that can be overlooked but it also gave students who belong to multiple ethnicities a chance to raise awareness and educate others.

Being a person of Samoan and Mexican descent, Sayula emphasizes that students of mixed heritage deserve to be acknowledged with similar pride. “I’m often mistaken for being Hispanic,” she said.

Among the event’s student organizations was Project Resilience, who work with Counseling and Psychological Services and focuses on emphasizing the wellness and mental health of APID students on campus.

Kayla Harimawan, a second-year business marketing major, was captivated by the event’s layout and the complimentary food offerings.

“I wanted to learn more about their heritage and see the different organizations and clubs they had to offer,” Harimawan said.

Representatives from the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) Student Success Center and Development (ASCEND) Program were also present to inform students of their goal of fostering a supportive, equitable and empowering learning environment on campus.

As students performed a traditional dance next to the henna station, student assistant George Stevenson told interested onlookers what the APID Resource Center had to offer.

“We provide couches, TVs, a free printer, and a place to study,” Stevenson said.

Although celebrated nationwide in May, Sayula said Long Beach State recognizes APID heritage in April because the semester ends in the middle of May.

“It’s all about celebrating and uplifting these identities,” Sayula said.

Undocu Conference, the next event dedicated to recognizing APID Heritage Month, will be taking place Friday morning in the USU ballrooms.

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