Represent-Asian aims to celebrate, educate about Asian culture

Represent-Asian henna night. Photo by Catherine Dema.

Represent-Asian, a new club at William Jewell College for the 2020-2021 school year, aims to provide a community at Jewell for Asian students. Represent-Asian is also focused on maintaining an open dialogue with Jewell and the surrounding community so as to promote more education about Asian culture.

Charlene Noble, president of Represent-Asian and sophomore psychology and elementary education major, explained that the community aspect of Represent-Asian is very prominent to the identity of the club.

“Represent-Asian is an organization on campus meant to provide a community for the Asian students on campus as well as educate the other students and the local community about Asian issues and Asian cultures in general,” said Noble.

The mission and goals of Represent-Asian are similarly focused with an emphasis on providing a voice for the Asian population at William Jewell. 

Their mission statement is “Providing an environment where Asian voices are heard and their cultures appreciated.”

“Since Jewell has such a small Asian population, even if it is small, we still want to be heard. We want people to know that we are here, that our cultures and our voices matter,” said Noble. “We want to be able to share that with the rest of the campus.”

As a new club, Represent-Asian is brainstorming ways to engage with the Jewell community through plans and projects. However, many of those may take longer to accomplish due to the need to comply with COVID-19 precautions.

“In terms of projects, we have a lot of ideas. The problem is with [COVID-19] measures [we don’t know] how viable they are going to be. We have a list and we are just going through them throughout the year to see if we can make them [COVID-19] safe,” Noble said.

One of Represent-Asian’s projects was a henna night that took place Wednesday, Sept. 30. The event was an opportunity for students at Jewell to not only get a henna tattoo but also get an education on the cultural significance of henna.

“We are working through and making sure that people know the significance of henna and how to use it without appropriation. We do want people to enjoy our culture but also know the difference between respecting and appropriating it,” said Noble.

As far as long-term plans, club membership is important to Represent-Asian.

“I do want to see the club grow in size,” Noble said. “That’s one of the biggest goals. Even for this year, the amount of support we’ve gotten from other students has been really big. We’ve had a lot of non-Asian students join the club and they seem very interested in it which I love. But I would love to see a lot more Asian students on campus joining the club and contributing to our community.”

The Represent-Asian cabinet consists of Noble, president; Miriam Allen, vice president and sophomore psychology major; Julia Yamate Almeida, treasurer and junior civil engineering major; and Teresa Mainzer, secretary and first-year Oxbridge: Institutions and Policy major. 

Represent-Asian will be meeting every other Thursday over Zoom. The club is best contacted through their Instagram page, @wjc_representasian.

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