The CDC on campus is comprised of multiple organizations that focus on different cultures. The Asian American Student Association (AASA) is one of the smaller groups within the CDC that focuses on bringing Asian culture to USD.
Naivy Patle, a senior economics and political science double major, is the president of AASA. Patle said the group strives to educate students on Asian American history, heritage and culture here in the US.
“Our motto is to build a bridge between the communities,” Patle said. “Everybody is welcome to our organization and to learn about who we are and what we do on campus. That’s one beauty of our campus and our community here that everybody can come, everybody is welcome. They are free to ask questions.”
Diane Na is a senior addiction studies major that has participated in AASA for two years and is the vice president. Na said this semester AASA decided to hand out road trip goodie bags when students leave for winter break.
During the first semester, they usually celebrate Diwali with traditional dances and musical performances. However, COVID-19 has stopped the organization from having big celebrations, but Na said they are hopeful for next semester.
“We’re more focused on Asian culture such as Diwali (which) is one of our big events and next semester the Lunar New Year is one of our big events,” Na said.
Although AASA may seem geared towards only Asian Americans, Na said the group welcomes all students who are interested in learning about Asian culture.
“If someone wants to know about Asian culture because since there’s not much resources in South Dakota,” Na said. “We can prep activities to get to know about this culture and have experience about it, for example like chopstick class.”
Patle said college is the time to make mistakes because students are in a safe environment where they can learn from their mistakes.
Students, Patle said, are free to go to the CDC or ask him any questions they may have because he hopes it will spark their curiosity and they may consider joining the group.
“You’re in college, you are paying (so much) money, I guess you should get all these experiences,” Patle said. “It’s a good place to learn everything because you won’t get this chance when you are out of college.”
Patle said he encourages students to attend the International Bazaar on Nov. 18 to learn more about the association and about Asian culture.