New RSO, ASA, brings diversity to campus

Chloe Chapel

Representation at ULM is something Asian students have been missing for a while. 

With only 2% of ULM students being Asian, many students felt the sense of unity within the Asian community at ULM was lost. 

Cindy Mai, a senior art student, heard fellow students talking about how they wished they had support and a place to bond. This is when Mai got the idea to start an organization for Asian students. 

“It was just a far-fetched dream that everyone had, and I wanted to make it happen,” Mai said. 

Mai started the Asian Student Association with the purpose of providing a supportive space for the Asian community, where students can share common struggles and bond over their cultures. 

Before ASA could become an official RSO, it needed 10 members. 

Other Asian students heard about ASA through Mai and quickly joined. 

Christy Tran, now the vice president of ASA, said she joined because she believed ASA would help give Asian students comfort even when they’re far from home, and she wanted to be a part of that experience. 

“I came from a high school with very little Asian representation and I often found difficulty connecting with my cultural background because of this,” Tran said. “During my first semester at ULM, I started to notice I was surrounded by other Asian students with similar experiences, and I thought helping the campaign for ASA would give us all the shared comfort of a home away from home.”

Rich Shin, the fundraising officer of ASA, joined because he wanted to educate other students about Asian culture in an open and inclusive environment. 

“Our goal as the ASA is to educate the public on Asian culture and to promote a positive mindset when it comes to Asian culture, while creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere,” Shin said. “Our organization is not just limited to Asians, it is open to everyone who is interested or wants to educate themselves more on Asian culture.”

After getting enough members to become an official RSO, ASA took off.

Tran said that because ASA is a new organization it might take a little longer to get events planned and situated, but they will have ways to support ASA soon. 

“There will be so many exciting opportunities to be a part of our events and to show support,” Tran said. “Our executive board has been working together to piece together ideas that are effective and fun, and we’re excited to get members involved in that process once we get the ball rolling.” 

They are starting off by raising money and awareness about ASA at ULM and within the community. 

Mai said that as the organization grows, they hope to connect various cultures while giving Asian students a place where they belong. 

“I hope to build other Asian students’ self-esteem and sense of belonging,” Mai said. “With ASA, I already feel like this is a huge step in providing a little more diversity at ULM.”