The event was intended to introduce students to Penn's Asian American resources. While some freshmen watched TV or went out to parties Friday night, others studied topics ranging from campus rape to tutoring at an event sponsored by the Asian Pacific community. The annual Asian Pacific Community Fair, sponsored by the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, is intended to encourage volunteerism among Asian American freshmen and to introduce them to the clubs and resources available to Asian Americans on campus. About 150 people attended the event, which was held in Logan Hall. During the fair, Asian American sororities and fraternities like Lambda Phi Epsilon and Alpha Kappa Delta presented information to freshmen about what they have to offer. "I think it's a good opportunity to see the clubs and find out what they're about," Lambda Phi Epsilon President and Engineering Junior Thomas Peng said, noting that freshmen frequently sign up for activities without first finding out what they are. The fair also included information about community service opportunities available to students. Organizations such as Philadelphia's Women Organized Against Rape and AIDS Service in Asian Communities encouraged freshmen to join. According to Hai Cao, a member of the AIDS group, Asian Americans face special challenges in preventing the often sexually transmitted disease. "There is a cultural and generational barrier between parents and their offspring, and this barrier prevents them from talking about sex and safe sex in general," he said. Mai Huynh, an organizer of the rape organization, stressed the importance of her group, which provides counseling and support to rape victims. "They should be aware of the services we provide, and they should be aware that there is help out there and they don't have to deal with it alone," she said. The event also served as a forum to introduce the students to various community service programs, a priority for College sophomore and APSC Vice Chairperson of Community Affairs Hoa Duong. Duong explained that Penn students have an obligation to reach out to the surrounding community. "I want Penn students to realize that we are living in West Philly and we should give back to the community and leave it a little better than how we found it," she said. Some groups, such as the Chinese Students Association, offered opportunities for freshmen to tutor Asian immigrants in Philadelphia. College sophomore Nancy King explained that since Penn's Asian American students have already learned to fit into American society, they could serve as ideal role models for new Asian immigrants. "I feel that we should? help with the assimilation process, since we are assimilated," she said. Freshmen were also told of opportunities to study Asian-American culture. Members of the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board gave out information on how freshmen could integrate Asian American studies into their schedules. "It's important to know about your culture," said Wharton sophomore Stephanie Hwang, who distributed the information. "It's important to know that there is an Asian American culture that is not fully Asian or American but both." Event organizers termed the program a success. "Historically, it's been very effective," said APSC President and College senior Seung Lee. "It shows that there are many facets to the Asian American experience." Lee added that the event is popular because it capitalizes on the Asian Pacific Student Coalition's ability to bring together all of the different Asian ethnic groups on campus. Students reacted positively to the event, which they felt helped introduce them to both new activities and new people. "It's a good way to find out about things here on campus," said College sophomore Christine Chang. "It's a good way to meet people and to reunite with friends I haven't seen yet."
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.