In the DP: One-on-One with the new Chair of Asian Pacific Student Coalition

By Huizhong Wu | December 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm | via the Daily Pennsylvanian Last week, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition elected their new chair. The Daily Pennsylvanian sits down for a one-on-one with College sophomore Curtis Lee to discuss the upcoming year.

Daily Pennsylvanian: What are your biggest goals for APSC this year? Curtis Lee: Three of the biggest goals right now for APSC, one, to really to work on our external outreach as far as civic engagement and political activism. Number two would be to address issues like the Dephanie Jao incident, to really work on getting resources for students who experience these kind of incidents and really to work with the administrators and the Pan-Asian American Community House to really think about what kind of things we can do in the future. Thirdly would be to work internally in APSCto provide resources for our constituencies.

DP: What kind of external outreach are you planning to do? CL: We really want to have the opportunity to give back to the larger Asian-Pacific American community in Philadelphia. One way I think we can do this is to partner with Civic House Associated Coalition and Civic House to really think about can we look for external groups who can partner with specific APSC constituent groups to work together. We just really want to not be focused so much internally on what we do on Penn’s campus.

We’ve been able to reach out to other student groups at Drexel and Temple. I think that just spreading outreach to other schools is important as well, [but] I think there should be a good balance.

DP: What do you want to accomplish here on campus? CL: First and foremost we are thinking about our groups because APSC is a constituency. A good way to serve them is to really think about how we can help them to strengthen their organization and also to help them reach out.

DP: Can you tell us more about what you’re planning to do for your constituency groups this year? CL: Traditionally APSC has had some kind of workshop for its constituents. Last year it was specifically targeted towards things like how do you get funding for your group, how do you make a website. I think there’s room for, in additional to those, things that also target how do we help them internally as a group. There’s a need to teach leadership skills to people who need it, not just to our constituency groups but to also open it up to people who are interested.

DP: After APSC and UMC’s joint letter of response to Dephanie Jao’s column “Hunting for Asians,” what else is APSC planning to do to follow up on this incident? CL: Right now APSC is working with the United Minorities Council to work with administration to talk about how can we make the resources available to students. A lot of students aren’t as willing as Dephanie to speak out and make their voice heard.

We really want to take initiatives and programming and have tangible things we can offer to students. We’re working closely with administration and resource centers. Another thing to talk about is how do we have peer to peer dialogue about the issues. This is an incident that really should resonate with lots of different communities, not just with the Asian community. So we want to see how can we facilitate this dialogue with other students.

DP: APSC doesn’t seem to tackle as many political issues as the Latino Coalition or the Lambda Alliance — any reason why? CL: I think that a lot of the issues APSC deals with is more subtle and there’s not always a clear pressing issue. In the past term, there wasn’t a clear issue for us to tackle. That is something [that] as a new board we have to discuss. We will continue to help our constituencies to be aware and to rally together as a unified body.

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