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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Asian American Student Union hosts ‘Valen-Tea’ Party, a celebration of love

From boba to pictionary, the event provided a space for community and creativity

Walking into a room filled with red and pink balloons, the exciting, social atmosphere and sense of support is heartwarming. American University’s Asian American Student Union hosted a Valentine’s Day event on Feb. 15, where students could bring their friends for a fun celebration and learn more about AASU’s mission and upcoming events.

The organization advocated to promote cultural awareness and the diversity of AU’s Asian American community and to provide a safe space for dialogue and free expression. 

After introducing AASU’s student leaders, the event proceeded with a lively game of pictionary, an opportunity for groups to win the first pick of boba. Afterwards, guests were encouraged to stick around and enjoy arts and crafts, origami and games.  

Ava Yap, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of communications for AASU, shared how events such as this provide a space to connect with other Asian American students, take a break from classes and get social. 

“There is a plethora of other organizations on campus,” said Yap. “Even within the Asian community there are a bunch of subsection clubs [that] all form a coalition to make sure there is a joined safe space.”

Yap said that there can be a “disconnect between students and different cultures” at AU, so having a community such as AASU is meaningful. Speaking from personal experience, Yap encouraged others to join cultural organizations and affinity groups as a way to find other students to connect with. 

Tsetan Namdol, a sophomore in the School of International Service and member of AASU, said that, especially at a predominantly white institution, affinity-based events create “a safe warm feeling.” After speaking about the importance of community, Namdol emphasized that it’s “important to show that Asian communities are here to stay.”

“Seeing so many people who are also interested in our other AAPI cultures coming to our events is quite heartwarming,” Namdol said. 

Social events such as this seem to be a great outlet for students to unwind after class and immerse themselves in what AASU has to offer. Namdol said that being a part of the Asian community has been “about resilience” and having their voices heard. 

Through a creative and fun-filled night with underlying themes of the importance of identity and community, AASU hosted this phenomenal event that brought together many students in celebration. 

The Valen-Tea event appeared to be a great way to explore AASU and encourage students to find an organization that they feel as connected to as the members of AASU feel to each other. 

The leaders of the organization spoke about upcoming events such as an AAPI Mental Health Panel on Mar. 1, and Family Speed Friending on Feb. 20 and 22. They encouraged those interested to attend and to continue to discover what AASU has to offer.

“We are here to offer everyone a safe space for members of our community to express themselves and have dialogues that you can’t outside of spaces like this,” Kelly Ma, president of AASU for the spring semester, said. 

This article was edited by Hannah Langenfeld, Kylie Bill and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Stella Guzik.

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