Tour of Asia is the biggest annual event hosted by the Asian American Student Organization (AASA), celebrating the foods, fashion and other cultural activities of various Asian interest organizations. This year, it took place on Nov. 3 where students had the opportunity to volunteer, perform or just stop by for the lively
festivities and food.
Julianne Li, third-year BIOL, is a co-programming chair within the AASA. She explained the event’s planning process.
“Since Tour of Asia is our biggest event of the year, planning starts pretty early in the semester, sometimes even in the summer. In September and early October, we aim to finalize food and catering, the theme and designs for the event, performers, and tabling organizations. There are a lot of formal processes the organization needs to go through before the actual event happens,” Li said.
As a club focused on promoting cultural identity on campus, AASA focuses on representing a multi-ethnic student body and encouraging the learning of new cultures and inclusivity for all.
“We want AASA to be a space for everyone to feel welcome. Through our events and programs, we try our best to address various cultures around Asia and not just those in certain, more recognized regions. And in doing so, we want those students to feel connected and seen on campus. Because AASA is not specific to any specific cultures, we also want it to be a space for students from various backgrounds to collaborate and meet each other,” Li said.
Alongside these goals, the AASA board consciously works to reflect these interests in their events as well as their general body meetings (GBMs). Additionally, they aim to support other clubs through collaboration.
“For the events we plan, we want them to be fun for attendees, but also somewhat educational still. So for example, our October GBM was themed ‘board games and biscuits,’ where we had various board games with origins in Asian culture for members to both play and learn more about. Additionally, we also try to collaborate with different organizations. For our GBM on November 16th, we are collaborating with SASE [the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers],” Li said.
Tour of Asia is a culmination of these values as a campus-wide event that aims to educate, uplift and entertain students.
“We had around or over a thousand people show up to Tour of Asia this year, which is a number we’re happy about. I think people really enjoyed the different performances we had, the food and the various activities the organizations had upstairs. We were worried about not being able to set up in time because we have to decorate all of the Exhibition Hall, and our design chairs worked really hard on creating the different decorations we had, but we managed to set up in time and fix any technological issues before the start of the event,” Li said.
Ruby Yu, second-year CS, attended Tour of Asia for the second time this year. “The event was fun for me last year; I really liked the energy and it was a great break from all my classes, so that made me want to come again,” Yu said.
Students started to line up for the event even before the official start time at 6 p.m.; its reputation for good food, exciting performances and many activities drew attention from all over campus. The highly anticipated event had a line the stretched throughout the building and out the door.
“Overall, I think they did well [with the organization], but one thing I noticed that they could do for next year would be to expect an even larger turnout and be more prepared for that,” Yu said.
Tour of Asia and other cultural events like it are essential to community building at Tech. “I think these kinds of cultural events are a great way for the student body to be more exposed to the diversity our school has,” Yu said.
“I love that there are so many different cultural events around campus because I think it can be comforting for students, but also educational and important in spreading awareness. The GT student population is so diverse, and this diversity is something we should celebrate and embrace more. I think it’s important to celebrate both our cultural identities and those of students around us because it gives us a deeper appreciation for humanity and how unique we all are,” Li said on the event’s reach across demogaphics.
AASA will continue to host more events for the Tech community both on and off campus. Stop by their monthly GBMs in the Student Center or follow AASA on Instagram @gtaasa to learn more and get involved.