In a change from past tradition, the Asian Students Association (ASA) did not host its annual fashion show as part of this year’s Asian Week. This marks a shift in ASA’s programming; the fashion show had been a staple of Asian Week since the 1980’s.

“One of the biggest changes we made was, our previous mission statement was that the purpose of our club was to serve the purpose of diversity recruitment and part of [how we accomplished that] that was the Asian Fashion Show,” said Son Ngo ’17, Co-Vice President of ASA. “We’ve realized that’s not what we want to do and that we want to focus more on identity, community and on bonding between members and the community.”

Co-President Jeffrey Chung ’16 explained that the change to Asian Week’s program reflected an attempt to turn away from presenting Asian cultures to campus and focus more on different views of all Asian and Asian American students.

In place of the fashion show, Asian Week will culminate with comedian and Bowdoin Alumnus Hari Kondabolu ’04 performing at Pickard Theater tomorrow night. Last year, Kondabolu was scheduled to perform, but he had to cancel due to illness.

In order to expand the diversity of programming, ASA has partnered with other multicultural groups on campus such as the African American Society, the Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program and Anokha—the College’s South Asian student association.
ASA, which boasts a membership of about 180 students, has coordinated a wider variety of programming because of these collaborations. 

On Tuesday, MacMillan House hosted “Panda Bear Tales” where students of all different ethnicities told stories about their personal experiences and identities. Ladd House hosted “An (Asian American) Portrait of the Artist” with writer and poet Jenny Zhang on Thursday night.
According to Ngo, these shifts in programming have helped make this year’s Asian Week more successful than in years past.   

“There’s been great turnout so far. People seem to be more interested in the things we’re doing,” said Ngo. “We’ve seen a lot of participation we haven’t usually seen.”