Asian and Pacific Islander culture celebrated at Attallah Piazza event

Students performed modern hip-hop dances as a part of the Asian Pacific Islander cultural celebration April 18. Photo by Gabriella Anderson

In a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander culture, members of Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) gathered in Attallah Piazza April 18 for dancing, singing and bubble tea.

Sarah Scholle, the APSA president, said the event’s aim was to give talented Asian students a platform – something that, Scholle said, is lacking in entertainment.

“On this campus, we’re not able to see all of these performers, so we’ve invited people to come specifically out in the Piazza to come by and see the performances,” said Scholle, a senior integrated educational studies major.

Scholle said she’s seen an increase in event attendance and in club membership after working with student government and the Cross-Cultural Center to put on the event.

“We’ve been able to create a community with all the Asian students on campus. We really strive for people who are part of this community to feel empowered.”

Scholle said that she hopes people who are not part of the Asian Pacific Islander community understand the importance of promoting Asian voices on campus.

Asian and Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students make up almost 13 percent of Chapman’s undergraduate population. Amanda Galemmo, cochair of APSA, who was one of the head coordinators of the event, told The Panther that the event is “to make sure the Chapman community knows we’re here.”

Chapman’s APSA club was founded in 1931, Galemmo said. The annual APSA celebration began on campus in 1998.

“It’s an event where we say ‘Hey, we’re Asian students; we’re proud of that and we want you to see what we can do,’” Galemmo said. “It’s a great venue for us to showcase a lot of really great Asian American talent.”

Sophia Saturnino, a freshman business administration major, told The Panther that she chose to perform in the dance groups Floor 13 and Kapamilya to take part in “traditional dances” and culture. Kapamilya is a Filipino dance group that performed a traditional style dance and a modern hip-hop routine at the event.

Shortly after them, student-dance group Floor 13 performed a hip-hop routine at the event.

“I’m a freshman and spring admit, so I don’t know much about the APSA and Asian community (at Chapman)” Saturnino said, who is Filipina. “After looking at all the performances, I was so excited to see a community that I’ve never seen in a white-majority college.”

Saturnino said the event exceeded her expectations.

“There was so much energy and everyone was cheering. Our community is a lot bigger than we think,” Saturnino said. “Not a lot of Asians feel like we’re represented, but having events that showcase our culture is very important in recognizing that we are diverse and we aren’t hidden.”