Pan-Asian American Community House will finally welcome a new director after almost a year of searching.
Peter Van Do, former program director for Community Center Programs at Cornell University’s Student Activities Office, will serve as PAACH director beginning July 23. Do has had a wide range of accomplishments, from being published in several Vietnamese studies journals to receiving honors including the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education.
Since former PAACH director June Chu’s departure in the fall of last year, the search committee had invited five candidates to campus before offering the position to Do.
“He stood out because of his experience in students in their programs and in their initiatives,” Associate Vice Provost Will Gipson said. Do had previously mentored student leaders, groups and employees at Cornell and worked as student activities coordinator at the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. He also served in the East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference with the Vietnamese Cornell Association.
“The work that I do at Cornell and the people that I work with are very snuggly with the community at Penn,” Do said.
Gipson added that PAACH wanted “someone innovative and creative to hold the community together during the year and a half of [the Arch Building’s] renovation, and identify with PAACH’s vision for the next five, ten years to come.”
The committee decided that Do’s previous work experience attested these characteristics. When they spoke to his former co-workers at Cornell and Harvard, “all of them talked about his creativity and his enthusiasm,” said Gipson.
In addition to maintaining PAACH’s success, “I want to synergize the interest of all the undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty, administrators, as well as local community members,” Do said. He also plans to create a welcoming and positive space for the student union and connect PAACH with other community centers on campus in collaborative initiatives.
PAACH staff are confident that Do will benefit the Penn community.
“I think he is the right choice in this next chapter in PAACH’s march forward,” Gipson said.
PAACH Associate Director Shiella Cervantes added that Do’s “experience and enthusiasm will be a great asset to PAACH” and will bring forth a vibrant year.