Dispelling stereotypes and raising awareness of Asian-American culture are two goals behind the 21st annual Asian Fest, which begins today.
Asian/Pacific American Student Services (A/PASS) will host a variety of events throughout the next two weeks to share their culture with the campus and community.
Events include a book club discussion, food fests, a movie marathon, panel discussions, a culture carnival and the popular luau, hosted by Hui ‘O Hawai’l. Chaplain James Yee is this year’s featured speaker.
In 2001, Yee was commissioned as one of the first Muslim Chaplains in the U.S. Army, and spent some of his time as a government spokesman, educating soldiers about Islam. Yee served as a Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. government held over 700 people as “unlawful combatants.”
But in 2003, Yee was arrested on accusations of spying and aiding the Taliban and al-Qaida. Yee spent 76 days in solitary confinement and was threatened with the death penalty.
Yee writes about his experiences in his book “For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire,” and will discuss his book at 7 p.m. on April 27 in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom. Tickets are free but must be obtained in advance from the campus box office.
“We want to bring awareness to both issues of Asian/Pacific Americans and to our office,” Sarah Jakel, assistant director of A/PASS said. “We’re a support system for students and we are open to everybody.”
Anthony Magalong, a senior finance and real estate major, is a peer contact for A/PASS and helped coordinate the speaker panel set for 12:30 p.m. on April 25 in the LSC. The panel, Magalong said, is meant to help dispel the stereotype that all Asian Americans are alike.
“The bottom line is awareness,” Magalong said. “We want to dispel myths about our cultures.”
Ragan Sasaki, a junior human development and family studies major, works with the PALS program, which is A/PASS’s big-brother/big-sister program. She helped coordinate Saturday’s culture carnival at the Fort Collins Public Library in Old Town.
The carnival is meant to educate children about different cultures and will include games, performances, crafts and food.
“We want to make (children) aware of different Asian cultures,” Sasaki said. “We want them to get Asian culture experiences and learn new information about Asian countries.”
The goal is to be fun and educational.
“We want it to be fun, but we also want to raise awareness of diversity because Fort Collins isn’t diverse,” Sasaki said. “We want to give people a chance to experience something different.”
Caroline Welch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Book Club Discussion: noon, today, A/PASS office
Food Fest: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, LSC Plaza
Ram*Anime Lock In: 4 to 11:30 p.m., Friday, Virginia Dale room, LSC
Culture Carnival: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Fort Collins Public Library in Old Town
Ang Lee Movie Marathon: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, LSC
Panel Discussion: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Tuesday , LSC, room 213
Food Fest: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 26, Plaza
Featured Speaker, Champlain James Yee: 7 p.m., April 27, LSC North Ballroom
Hui ‘O Hawaii Luau: 6 to 9 p.m., April 30, LSC Main Ballroom.