Asian Culture Club hosts Campus Connections event


Photo from Asian Culture Club Instagram

On Mar. 17, the Decatur High School Asian Culture Club (ACC) paired up with another Asian Culture Club at Emory’s Oxford campus. The meeting was a Campus Connections event where college students spoke about their daily life at Oxford and answered general questions about college.

Natalie Park, the president of ACC, wanted the event to suit the needs of not only club members but other students around the school. 

“We wanted to have a place not only where upperclassmen specifically can ask questions about college life, and what to expect after high school, but also specifically learn about it from an Asian perspective,” Park said.

According to Park, the Oxford ACC was a perfect option because it was “specifically a different Asian Culture Club from another university.” 

This event is the first time ACC has paired up with another club, but Park expects these types of events to continue.

“Our events in the past have been webinar style, where we invite speakers and they speak, and we have a Q&A,” Park said. Earlier in the year, ACC invited several Asian authors, including Jenny Han, Maurene Goo and David Yoon, to speak at their meetings.

According to Park, the Campus Connections event is likely the beginning of this new meeting initiative. “We actually have something in the works, we’re trying to reach out to other Asian clubs — not necessarily Asian Culture Clubs, but other clubs run by Asian students at different universities,” she said. “We got in touch with Emory again, and with the University of Texas and Columbia University, to talk to other Asian organizations and to hold another Zoom event where we can have a discussion about race and education, with specifically an Asian lens on the topic.”

Park believes that this new format will allow more students to discuss and connect with others. “We’re trying to make it more interactive, so more club members can partake,” Park said.

The Oxford Campus Connections event lasted from 8:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. and consisted of four parts: a brief introduction, small breakout room discussions about general college life, a game of online pictionary on, and larger breakout room discussions about the small atmosphere at Oxford.

The Oxford Asian Culture Club is dedicated to “celebrating the diversity of Asian cultures at Oxford and shining a light on underrepresented ones,” as well as serving as a safe place for Asian-Americans on the campus. Even though their club isn’t typically focused on current events, they began the meeting with a two minute moment of silence acknowledging the shooting committed on Mar. 16 in which an armed gunman visited three Atlanta area spas, killing eight people, six of them being Asian women. Read about the Atlanta protest against violence targeting Asian Americans here

Similarly, the DHS ACC has altered their regular purpose in light of recent events. 

“Activism hasn’t been a focus of the club in these past couple of months, but with an event like what happened last Tuesday [Mar. 16], it’s not something you can ignore. Especially since we’re the Asian Culture Club, [the event is] not something we can just brush past,” Park said.

Therefore, Park and the rest of the club’s leadership organized several meetings related to discrimination against Asian Americans. 

“[On Mar. 17], we had a meeting with a couple school counselors — Dr. Jackson and Dr. Jones — to have a space for any club members or anyone who needed to process the event, or wanted to talk about it. We’ve also been pushing efforts from Asian Americans Advancing Justice,” Park said.

In addition, members of ACC spoke at a Black Student Union (BSU) meeting discussing intersectional discrimination between Asian Americans and African Americans. Isha Desai, the social media manager of ACC, helped organize the event.

As social media manager, “I spread knowledge and answer any questions people have about the meetings or any of the events that we’re doing,” Desai said.

According to Park, “BSU reached out to us to have a conversation at their meeting [Mar. 25] about Asian American and African American relations, which I think can be tied back into the event that happened on Tuesday… since the last event was an Asian hate crime.”

In addition to their newer interactive format, ACC plans to continue their earlier lighthearted meetings where they play games and talk about Asian culture. “I think the main goal is to build a sense of community in the club and basically help spread the knowledge of different Asian cultures, and sort of make people feel more connected, especially during the pandemic,” Desai said.

Park agrees that building a sense of community is crucial to the club’s success, and she was inspired by Oxford Asian Culture Club’s past events. “Recently they just had an origami night where they had students log on and they did origami together,” Park said. 

Park hopes to implement events like origami nights into ACC. “We can just talk and build a sense of community because we have meetings and we have events but I think the actual connections between members can be a little stronger,” she said.

However, in Park’s eyes, the overall goal of the club has not changed. “We want to create a space for not just the Asian students at Decatur High School but just anyone who is curious about Asian culture, or enjoys Asian culture in whatever way that may be. Maybe it’s pop culture like K-Pop or Anime or maybe it’s like how we have a couple artsy members of the club who really enjoy doing different forms of art — and that’s sort of manifested itself in expressions of interest in Asian culture. So we just want to create a place where we can talk about Asian culture, we can explore it, and also create a place to hang out,” Park said.