The University of Michigan Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Alumni (U-M A/AAPI) affiliate group held its annual meeting at the Alumni Center on May 23.
It was the first time the group, which has members all over the U.S., was able to hold an in-person meeting in Ann Arbor. U-M A/AAPI was formed in May 2020 during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
This year’s event celebrated AAPI month and U-M President Santa Ono was the keynote speaker.
“The most important thing to say is that AAPI Asians, both Americans and from around international destinations, have been making a huge contribution to this University from its very, very early days,” Ono said. “There have been all kinds of extraordinary Asians here at the University.”
Ono, who is of Japanese descent, is the first Asian to be president of U-M. He said AAPI month means a lot to him because AAPI leaders are the most underrepresented individuals in college and university presidencies.
“We have to think about how we can address unconscious bias and how we can really be there as supporters and mentors for each other,” he said to the group. “And I’m here to tell you, that I’m here for you. I’m here for the current generation of AAPI students, and junior faculty who are on that ladder, it is up to us to support them.”
Charmaine Chan, ’05, president of U-M A/AAPI, said she helped launch the group because alumni needed to feel human connection amidst the pandemic and rise in Asian hate.
“This year, we are focused on in-person events in major regions with a bigger A/AAPI alumni community, and hope to continue to work with these regional alumni clubs to help with our A/AAPI events,” she said. “Additionally, we have raised around $20,000, for a scholarship we are setting up in hopes that we can help give support to an active member of the A/AAPI community a chance to attend U-M.”
Jeremy Carroll is the content strategist for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.