On May 17, the Santa Rosa City Council proclaimed May as Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and recognized the Filipino American Association of Sonoma State University (FAASSU) for its spirit of inclusion and contributions to the community.
"We are always working hard not only to promote our organization's culture but the culture of all our members," FAASSU president Stacey Smyth told the Council. The club is Sonoma State's largest multicultural student organization and includes members with Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hmong, German, Mexican and African-American backgrounds.
The group's seventh annual Pacific Culture Night this year drew a record 600 people to Weill Hall in the Green Music Center. "This is a recognition of FAASSU's leadership, hard work, and dedication to celebrating diversity, inclusiveness, and our cultural communities at SSU," reads the proclaimation. "We particularly acknowledge the incredible "bayanihan" (community spirit) FAASSU has brought to this community by specifically including many cultures into the organization through the art of music and dance, choreographing and participating in over 10 different cultural dances originating from the Phillipine Islands, Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand."
FAASSU began in 1995 as a club addressing issues affecting Filipino Americans. Today, it is one of the University's most diverse student clubs. In addition to Pacific Cultural Night, FAASSU participates in the annual Friendship Games at Cal State Fullerton each October. The event's main objective is for participants to make friends, as it draws clubs from across California, Nevada and Arizona.