Finding My East Asian Community and Identity at NYU
The resources I used to find my people at NYU
I based my Why NYU essay on the story of how I was born in the United States but moved to China when I was 8. It took me a long time to connect with my identity and hold it with pride. So I knew I wanted to continue that practice in college. I looked for an Asian community on campus since day one, and I get asked a lot about resources that students use to connect with fellow East Asians. Fear not! There are many…
Clubs are a huge part of on-campus student life. There are plenty to for you to and many ways to get involved! I met so many of my friends through clubs and truly feel I found my community through them.
Asian Cultural Union
Asian Cultural Union is an umbrella organization that strives to represent all Asian communities on campus! We hold events for students to enjoy Asian culture like food and art. Past events include Studio Ghibli Might, Asia Night, and Midterm De-Stress. It is also a great way to meet new people in the Asian community. We host something we call family system. This involves pairing students with executive board members who they will meet up with a few times each semester to hang out.
Asian Heritage Month
Asian Heritage Month is another Asian club that celebrates all Asian cultures. It hosts a variety of events throughout the year but mainly in May (which is Asian Heritage Month). They are a great organization for students to join to engage in Asian arts. What’s more, exciting guests, like singers Eric Nam and NIKI, have performed at their events.
There are also more specific clubs at NYU like the Korean Student Association, Taiwanese American Student Society, Chinese Student Society, Chinese Mei Society, Japanese Cultural Association, and Hong Kong Student Association. These clubs provide students of all backgrounds a way to celebrate Asian culture!
In addition to the more events- and social-based East Asian clubs, there are media- and arts-based clubs like Generasian (an Asian American multimedia platform), All Asian Arts Alliance, and Asian Fusion Dance. There are plenty of clubs at NYU for you to get involved in that strive to celebrate Asian cultures. And all students are welcome to join!
Greek life is another way to get involved and find your community. Although there are no specific East Asian sororities or fraternities, these organizations are a great way to meet people and make connections. At NYU, the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) hosts all the cultural-based Greek organizations that help people of color connect with one another on campus.
Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.
In my sophomore year, I rushed and joined the Kappa Phi Lambda sorority. Through this sorority, I met some of my closest friends at NYU and participated in meaningful events like Deaf culture awareness and cultural appropriation workshops. Recently, we wrote letters to essential workers.
Through Kappas, I met a whole community of people at NYU outside of my sorority too. I met the sisters of other Asian-interest sororities, like alpha Kappa Delta Phi or Sigma Psi Zeta, and the brothers from Pi Delta Psi and Nu Alpha Phi. It’s been a great experience so far, and I really look forward to meeting other people and organizations in MGC.
In addition to student life resources and organizations, I also take classes on East Asian culture.
East Asian Studies
The Department of East Asian Studies at the College of Arts and Science offers all sorts of classes related to East Asian culture. You can major in East Asian Studies; minor in East Asian Civilization, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese; or just take classes that interest you. Korean Culture and Society Through K-Pop, Chinese Film and Society, and Ludic Japan: Games, Technology, and Culture are popular class choices among my friends.
In my first year, I took Asian/Pacific/American Cultures as a core class to fulfill my Cultures and Contexts requirement. Learning about the history of Asians in the United States was both eye-opening and shocking for me. I didn’t realize how little I knew about it before this class. It was a great way to educate myself in a classroom setting.
All in all, finding an Asian community I can relate to and bond with at NYU has been such a valuable experience. I am so glad I am able to be proud of my identity and background at NYU. And I am grateful to have the resources to continuously grow my knowledge about Asian culture. Hope to see you at an event soon!