The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) conference took place this weekend at NC State’s McKimmon Center. The conference celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and was hosted jointly by Duke University, NC State, and UNC-Chapel Hill. Events spanned from March 17-18, 2017, with a second full day of workshops, performances and dialogues.
ECAASU offered a variety of different workshops aimed at empowering, educating and connecting Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. Primarily geared toward students, the conference also welcomed faculty and staff. Its three workshop slots were categorized as “Interdependence: Between Us,” “Intersection: Beside Us” and “Interaction: Beyond Us”.
The conference examined various methods of networking and advocacy. A closed session for university staff and administrators who are involved with AAPI student support on their home campuses provided a networking opportunity. Staff members asked questions about best practices and shared their experiences. Students also networked during the many different caucus spaces targeted toward various populations such as immigrants, multi-racial individuals and first-generation college students.
The Networking Fair, the most structured networking opportunity, featured many different organizations and highlighted professional job prospects and areas for change in the community from local, national and global perspectives. The Young Professionals Booth showcased young AAPI professionals in the fields of healthcare, finance, engineering, education and management.
Notably, ECAASU featured a dedication to inclusivity. All of the speakers had pronouns beside their names in the conference manual; every bathroom had a sign in over the “Men” and “Women” placards that said “All Genders.” Workshop topics ranged from transracial adoption to Christianity in AAPI communities to AAPI in higher education.
Brittany Hunt, assistant director in Multicultural Student Affairs reflected,
“Multicultural Student Affairs’ attendance and participation at this conference is one of many steps we are taking in supporting the AAPI student community at NC State. MSA is dedicated to ensuring that AAPI students are included and feel that they are truly part of NC State. We will be implementing more programs for AAPI students in the near future.”
Diamond Turner is a second-year master’s student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.