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Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Events across campus highlighted the vibrant culture of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the month of April.
Students gather round buffet table at AAPI Night Market.

Multicultural Greek Council hosts a night market for students to learn about popular Asian and Pacific Island regional foods.

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is a month-long celebration held each May honoring the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to America. The month’s programming, hosted in April to ensure the entire campus community can take part, was coordinated by the AAPI Heritage Month planning committee with efforts led by Multicultural Affairs in collaboration with campus departments and student organizations, included events aimed at educating and celebrating their diverse cultures and identities.

Students play instruments on stage at International Festival.

International Festival

This large-scale showcase of cultural traditions and talents from the student body featured food tasting, performances and cultural exhibits. Participating student organizations included the Haitian American Student Association, the African Student Union, the Ukrainian Club at Syracuse University, the Caribbean Students Association, the Chinese Union, the South Asian Student Association, the Turkish Student Association, the Mexican Student Association, the Filipino Student Association and the European Student Association.

Portrait of Stephanie Shih wearing a tanktop that says "No New Jails" on it.

Stephanie Shih “My Sweetie Has No Pockmarks” Reception

A reception for Stephanie Shih’s “My Sweetie Has No Pockmarks” exhibit took place at the Syracuse University Art Museum. Shih’s sculptures delve into the notions of home and nostalgia by using food as a lens. Her installation highlights bags of rice, aiming to challenge the flattening of Asian identity through stereotypes and to recapture this pantry staple as a symbol of Asian American identity.

Woman in art gallery points to paintings while students look on.

Lunchtime Lecture: Mithila Art at the SU Art Museum

This lecture focused on art from the Mithila region of India with Susan Wadley, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology. Wadley spoke on artwork included in the museum’s exhibition, “Take Me to the Palace of Love,” exploring the history of the Mithila tradition as well as changing styles and themes over the past 60 years. She also discussed her work with female artists who explore themes of femininity, family life, societal expectations and religion through paintings rich in color and densely packed with imagery.

Students gather around food table exploring options on a buffet of food.

MGC Night Market

Presented by the Multicultural Greek Council, the night market invited members of the community to learn more about foods around Asia through the lens of night markets—street markets that operate at night and are popular in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Chinatowns in several regions of the world.

Students wearing colorful clothing and throwing colorful powder pose for a photo inside of a yellow and gold flower frame.


The South Asian Student Association hosted a vibrant Holi event on campus to celebrate the Indian festival of colors. Attendees joined for an explosion of colors, delicious food and lively music and dancing.

Sharon Lee holds a microphone in front of presentation speaking to room.

Paving the Way Alumni Speaker – Sharon Lee ’14, G’15

Sharon Lee, a product manager, real estate investor, and self-proclaimed French fry connoisseur, shared her journey from being a resident at Day Hall to being a resident of her "eutopia" (not utopia). She is a compassionate and eager learner who has managed teams of over 50 people, led a hackathon idea into a $2M initiative, and owned features for a product with 69 million monthly active users. Sharon had a lot of wisdom to share and reflected on her Asian American dream over the last 30 years.

Laughing students sit together in auditorium holding bingo cards.

Orange After Dark – AAPI Heritage Month Grocery Bingo

Students joined Orange After Dark for a fan-favorite activity, Grocery Bingo. This time it was with an AAPI twist. Winners got a tote bag filled with the best food and snacks from Asian cultures, picked specifically by the AAPI Heritage Month Planning Committee. Orange After Dark hosts events every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday throughout the academic year when classes are in session.

Hua Hsu stands at lectern in front of room of onlookers giving a lecture.

AAPI Heritage Month Commemorative Lecture with Hua Hsu

Hua Hsu, a New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author, spoke about the importance of telling complex stories that complicate the narratives that are told about us, and how this can open up new worlds of possibility. His memoir, "Stay True," is a poignant reflection on identity, self-discovery, connection and the immigrant experience. It has received critical acclaim as a national bestseller, one of TIME's 100 Must-Read Books of the Year and one of The New York Times's 100 Notable Books of the Year. Hsu is also a contributor at The New Yorker, a teacher at Bard College, and serves on the executive board of the Asian American Writers' Workshop and Critical Minded.

Students on stage in hip hop costumes perform a dance.

ASIA Night

Students joined for a night of fun performances showcasing talented students from across campus and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, featuring dancing, singing and more.

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