The UNC Asian American Center will be hosting a grand opening of its first physical space on Aug. 27.
The center, located at the Carriage House on 215 W. Cameron Ave., is one of UNC’s community and academic engagement centers. Plans for a physical space for the AAC have been in motion for two years, though student and faculty advocacy for Asian American representation on campus spans much longer.
The center was established — and virtually opened its doors — in 2020.
Lynne Chen, a 2021 graduate and senior adviser for the AAC Campaign, said she is thrilled to finally have an Asian American Center space on campus.
“Students have been advocating for this space since the 1990s," Chen said. "I am hopeful it will be a place people go to learn and gain a critical understanding of Asian American peoples, cultures and histories.”
The campaign team plans to host a variety of events during the academic year, including a project focusing on the exploration of Asian and Asian American food. The project will compile recipes from students and the community through online and in-person events.
Junior Raymond Palma is a member of the AAC Campaign team. Palma said the team is excited to begin hosting students and events at the center to build alumni relations. However, given COVID-19 restrictions, Palma and the development team are planning to host more virtual alumni meet-and-greet events.
“In the long term, we are working to further establish and integrate the AAC into the Carolina campus and community," Palma said. "And to continue to provide a space where Asian American students, staff and faculty can come together to build a community and learn from one another.”
AAC's Director Heidi Kim said she is helping promote the center and organize programming events. The center's programming requires no membership, according to an AAC FAQ.
“Admittedly, it’s been a challenge to plan with the uncertainty of COVID, but we’re looking at film screenings this fall, including some of the big superhero films coming out," Kim said. "Last year’s Virtual Lunch Table will turn into a real lunch table where students can meet faculty and alumni to learn about their professional and life experiences.”
Selina Shi, a junior and co-director of development for the AAC Campaign Team, said the campaign team is currently focused on completing a successful launch, but has plans to grow in the future.
"Our long-term goal is to transition the campaign team to a lasting student branch of the center dedicated to connecting students with the center and vice versa," Shi said.
Editor's Note: Raymond Palma is the treasurer of The Daily Tar Heel Board of Directors.
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