Erika P.



While starting college in the Fall of 2020 may have been a challenge, having the chance to join the Asian Student Association on the first day of classes changed the direction of my college experience. Freshman year consisted of online classes and occasionally seeing your peers on campus, but it was through ASA that I was able to meet upperclassmen and soon later mentors that I would have been too afraid to approach. Through ASA, I was able to create a semi-normal first year of college experience as well as join the executive board that I continue to proudly sit on as the club’s president for my second year. With the role of President, there is more than the title. This makes me a catalyst for change in the Salem State community. It’s a position that allows the individual to grow and reflect on the change they can bring to the campus. As ASA President, my goal was to rewrite and reveal the many layers of the Asian American Pacific Islander diaspora, along with tackling the rise of anti-Asian sentiment, the ugly face of a complex history between Asian American individuals and the United States. Overcoming this issue meant learning the importance of solidarity and unity among AAPI cultural organizations through different college campuses. Through solidarity and connection, resistance against systematic oppression can bring joy, celebration, and unity to the AAPI community. Assisted by friendships with Umass Lowell’s Cambodian American Student Association or Simmons University’s Asian Student Association, SSU’s Asian Student Association can challenge institutional racism with on and off-campus support. As I reflect on the almost three years of work I have done with ASA, I revisit the feelings of pride I felt when creating authentic and educational events for the Salem State Community. These last three years have allowed me to truly find what I wanted to do as a career path. I am proud that in this upcoming fall I will be pursuing a Master in Education in Higher Education in Student Affairs degree. I hope to continue to bring the same level of care and community I received to future generations of AAPI college students.