Seattle University APIDA Student Association

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
May 6, 2022

members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association outsideMay marks APIDA Heritage Month (also known as AAPI Heritage Month.)

Matthew Conde, BABA Management and University Honors, ’23, and Madeleine Magana, BA Public Affairs, ’23, co-presidents of the Seattle University APIDA Student Association are excited to connect Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) identifying students with a wider APIDA community.

APIDA Student Association is a community and space where students of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American identifying communities can voice their opinions and participate in important issues. Grounded in understanding and care, the APIDA Student association seeks to promote education about the different types of APIDA traditions, heritages, cultures, and identities for equity and justice. Through shared support and care, APIDA Student Association strives to uplift APIDA students within the university and communities beyond campus walls through educational, leadership, and service opportunities.

“We established the service-learning and advocacy club in September 2021 to raise awareness and to empower APIDA students at SU,” said Madeleine.

members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association“Since last fall, we’ve participated in monthly service clean ups with Friends of Little Saigon and held teach-ins on various APIDA Lunar New Year perspectives, Chinatown-International District History, and other topics on APIDA representation,” said Matthew.  “We look forward to expanding our club beyond undergraduates, learning from SU alumni and graduate students' experiences and making connections with the APIDA community.”

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) encompasses people from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

APIDA plans to expand their club beyond the present Seattle University community and to connect APIDA alumni with current SU students. They hope that collaborating with SU alumni can better help them connect with the university and greater Seattle communities.

members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association“One of the disconnects between APIDA SU students and their post graduate plans is the fact that they don’t know what resources are available from their communities with the same identities,” said Madeline. “One of our goals is to make them more accessible and one of the most underutilized resources are APIDA alumni and graduate students. We believe they can help us envision our futures, and how align with the APIDA community and integrating APIDA justice into whatever work we go into.”

Matthew expands on that, talking about what the club has accomplished so far. “Our club members want to cultivate a space where people from different Asian heritages can come together, where they can discuss important issues that are affecting the communities, and then find ways to engage them.”

members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association at Wing Luke MuseumOne club teach-in focused on Asian representation in journalism. A club outing to Wing Luke Museum explored how different APIDA culture celebrate Lunar New Year. Members also participated in two quarterly clean-ups in Little Saigon.

Matthew said, “Alumni may be able to open doors for other ways we can get involved with the greater Seattle community.”

Madeline said, “As undergraduate students, our presentations are very wide open. I think that alumni and graduate students could also help us explore topics more deeply. “

The co-presidents and members hope that engaging with alumni will also help make connections for both personal and professional development. They are interested in learning about others’ experiences of growing up as people of color, attending college, and then moving on to their careers. Connections leading to internships and jobs are also important.

“Having someone from our community to reach out to is so valuable,” says Matthew.

Join the Seattle University APIDA Student Association on the SU Quad, Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, for "Chalk Day." Students and community members are encouraged to draw something that represents their culture or identity, telling their story.

Interested in working with the association? Matthew and Madeleine would be happy to hear from you.

 members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association

Photos courtesy of Seattle University APIDA Student Association