Vanderbilt to celebrate APIDA graduates during AAPI Heritage Month in May

Vanderbilt will host its inaugural Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Graduates Recognition Ceremony on May 11. The ceremony, a joint effort of the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity, campus partners and student organizations, coincides with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Co-sponsors for the event include the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Multicultural Leadership Council, the Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Asian American Student Association, South Asian Cultural Exchange, Vanderbilt University Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Korean Undergraduate Student Association and Global China Connection.

AAPI Heritage Month—a time to honor and reflect on the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States—began in 1978 as a weeklong observance. In 1990, Congress expanded the observance to a month and in 1992 designated May for the monthlong commemoration.

For more updates on AAPI events in May, visit the AAPI Identity Initiative website and follow @inclusive_vandy on Instagram.

 As national observance occurs in May, when the majority of Vanderbilt students are on summer break, Vanderbilt has also traditionally celebrated Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander and Desi American heritage during the fall semester from October to early November.

Additionally, many campus offices and organizations have collaborated on multiple initiatives, programs and events in the past year to honor and reflect upon the experiences of the AAPI community.

  • Research guide Yuh-Fen Benda collaborated with the Asian American Advocacy Project to create an online Asian American Studies library research guide.
  • The AAPI Employee Affinity Group and TAAAP co-hosted a panel discussion, “From Vincent Chin to #STOPAAPIHATE with Helen Zia,” in March, in observation of the first anniversary of the Atlanta shootings and the 40th anniversary of the killing of Chinese American Vincent Chin by white autoworkers. A recording of the event can be found on the AAPI EAG webpage.
  • To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Asian American Student Association this year, the AAPI Association of Vanderbilt Alumni and AASA established a $500 award to distribute to a rising sophomore or junior who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to Asian American advocacy.
  • As the office that advises Asian Pacific Islander Desi American student organizations, SCSJI carefully curated a comprehensive calendar for the university’s celebration of APIDA Heritage Month in October that brings together a variety of student organizations and campus partners to center and spotlight the APIDA community on campus.
  • After two years of interruption with COVID-19, the in-person cultural showcases finally returned. SCSJI, along with various APIDA student organizations, hosted several signature events to celebrate the diverse culture of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.