APISU unites Asian cultures on campus

Story by Abigail Kim
Staff Writer

Photo by Zoe Chen
Staff Photographer

Junior Nadia Cho founded SPHS’s chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union (APISU) in the fall of 2023. The other club officers are junior Vice President Amishi Mahadev, senior Secretary Yuzu Harada, and junior Treasurer Dylan Liu. APISU meets every other Wednesday during lunch in SPHS STEM teacher Jared Guiou’s classroom. They focus on promoting Asian American culture by creating cultural spaces around campus.

All 16 APISU chapters nationwide are led by an executive board, which is made up of students from all chapters. Orange County School of the Arts (OSCA) senior Abbi Park founded the first APISU chapter, and she was the one who reached out to Cho about starting one at SPHS. Soon after, Cho embarked on the process of starting a new club at SPHS.

“I found that SPHS makes it kind of difficult for clubs to start and become active,” Cho said. “Even though [at] SPHS a lot of people go through the club starting process…a lot of them aren’t active. So one of our goals this year was to try to establish…active members and have activities.”

After participating in club rush and the homecoming picnic, their meetings mostly centered around establishing the club and giving presentations on different cultures. To close out 2023, APISU held a picnic and discussed second semester goals.

Since then, APISU hosted two booths during the Alhambra Lunar New Year festival on Sunday, Feb. 18. The festival was held on Main Street in Alhambra and celebrated the commencement of the year of the dragon. They hoped to unite elders and children through the traditional art form of calligraphy.

“We ran a calligraphy booth which was really great to see because we [had] a booth for kids where they could come and paint calligraphy,” Cho said. “But a lot of the time some of the elders in the community would come and they would pretty much show off, which was really fun to see.”

APISU also organized a Lunar New Year event on the SPHS Tiger Patio on Thursday, Feb. 22. The event consisted of a variety of booths that included calligraphy, origami, and traditional games, such as Mahjong and Go. APISU and the Cultural Foods Club collaborated by selling traditional food, such as dumplings, sticky rice, and matcha cookies.

Ten student ambassadors worked to plan, organize, and run the events alongside the club officers. They were chosen after applying towards the beginning of the year. Cho hopes to at least double the amount of student ambassadors going into next year.

“I’m hoping that next year I’ll start training some people to take over the club and take over the SPHS chapter specifically,” Cho said. “But otherwise I’m hoping that it’ll continue for as long as possible.”

They are planning on hosting an event in May for Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month similar to the Lunar New Year event, in which they intend to collaborate with other clubs. Next year, they aim to work with SPEF to hold a cultural event in the fall and expand the club even more.

“I’m hoping that as I’m part of the executive board, the rest of the board will help support [the SPHS] chapter and keep it going,” Cho said.

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