The Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Center
In 2017, Riley Tsang (c/o ‘19) and Shannon Thao (c/o ‘18) began actively lobbying for an APIDA Student Center. A committee created and led by Tsang and Thao, researched centers at other Big Ten schools and developed a proposal to present in collaboration and in solidarity with the student activists working to establish the Latinx Cultural Center. They used the momentum of each other’s projects to build on their own individual efforts forming a student coalition. When thinking about these two spaces, the students active in launching the centers thought it important to note that these new centers be thought of as startup spaces, not finished products, as there are still many ideas for growth. The student activists who worked to establish the APIDA Student Center also served as the first student interns of the center and were titled community organizers. The Center now has a full-time staff program coordinator and an undergraduate programming intern. In response to past student activism against the hostile national and institutional climates for APIDA students, the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Center (APIDASC) originally opened its doors in the Fall of 2018 (start up space), with renovations being completed Summer of 2020, and a Grand WI-Opening in Fall 2020.
Given this institutional context, the necessity of concerted and institutionalized support for APIDA students at UW-Madison has been ever present. Currently, and as we’ve seen heightened in the recent year, the impact of the national climate regarding the surge of anti-Asian violence in the US, can amplify feelings of isolation, un-belonging and invisibility that some APIDA Badgers may feel on our campus. Fostering a sense of belonging, connection, and community is crucial to ensure APIDA students’ success. Thus, alongside continued student advocacy we created this fund to support initiatives that ensure the aforementioned can be accomplished by celebrating APIDA culture and experiences, and honoring the legacy of advocacy and action within APIDA communities at UW-Madison.
-Simran S., Junior, Biology Major
In efforts to ensure longevity of the APIDASC and support for APIDA students, this fund will exist in perpetuity.
For information after this jumpstart ends contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Emily R., First Year, Honors