The event, on January 23, was organized by the student-run Lunar New Year Committee, which is made up of four Haverford affinity groups: the Korean Culture Club, the Pan-Asian Resource Center, the Pan-Asian Affinity House, and the Global China Club. The panel was one of several events, including a banquet and a decoration-making session, hosted in late January to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and the only one to bring professors and students together.
“Because it’s Lunar New Year, [we thought] why not bring in some of the professors and have them talk about their disciplines and what it means to the Asian American experience,” said Quyhn Vo ’25, one of the event’s organizers.
The Tri-College Asian American Studies Program was officially launched last fall, although classes in the subject area have been taught on the three campuses over the past few decades. The creation of a new minor now allows for a formalized way to study Asian American perspectives and histories.
“There have been generations of students who have voiced a need for this program; [this] is the fruit of a lot of collaboration over the years,” said Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Shu-wen Wang, who co-directs the program with Bakirathi Mani, a professor of English literature at Swarthmore.
The panel also featured Elizabeth Kim, a visiting assistant professor of English at Haverford, and Theresa Tensuan ’89, a Haverford advising dean; as well as two Swarthmore College faculty, Lei Ouyang, associate professor of music, and Vivian Truong, assistant professor of history. Bryn Mawr was represented by Heejung Park, an associate professor of psychology.
The panelists shared their experiences getting into the field of Asian American studies as well as the work that they do in the Tri-Co to promote Asian American voices. After the panel concluded, students were able to chat with panel members about the minor and their own areas of research.
“It gives me hope knowing that there are scholars, professors, and students who care about these topics,” said Ava McCoy-Johnson ’26, who attended the panel. says, “l’m excited and relieved to have professors that understand lived experiences that come along with being a minority in this country and what it means to feel heard.”