Posted: October 20, 2017, 5:04pm
As the social and political tensions in the country continue to rise, I’ve become ever more aware of unique challenges that affect the many different populations of Americans and students on campus. Although I wasn’t involved in cultural groups on campus as an undergraduate, I started this school year seeking a group that could help me explore my own identity as an Asian American, and specifically, an Asian American woman. I had been on the mailing list for USC’s Asian Pacific American Students Services (APASS) since my freshman year, so when one of their newsletters showcased a seminar regarding contemporary issues, I immediately applied and joined the course – CIRCLE: Critical Issues in Race, Class, & Leadership Education.
Founded in 1988, CIRCLE guides student discussions on social justice topics over 7 weeks in an effort to “educate, engage, and empower the APA student community through critical self-reflection and identity-based development.” The curriculum, which is heavily based on group conversation and activities, includes APA history, immigration, class, gender identity, sexual identity, race, solidarity, and more. Currently, I’m halfway through this development program and I’ve really had my eyes opened to crucial subjects that have been seriously neglected in my prior studies and engagements. I’ve gained deeper understanding of the origins of APA stereotypes, the damaging consequences of aggregating APA data, and the importance of challenging social and cultural norms. We still have 3 more weeks to go, but I have already grown so much as an individual as well as a member of this incredible community. If you’re interested in getting involved or diving into these sensitive issues, check out CIRCLE! It’s offered every fall and is open to any USC student. I highly recommend it.
Published on October 20th, 2017
Last updated on December 7th, 2017