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To the Class of 2022,

On behalf of the Asian American Students Association (AASA), welcome to Princeton University! We will surely not be the first — nor the last — people to welcome you to this amazing community. Nonetheless, we are so excited that you are here, and we cannot wait to see what you will no doubt accomplish during your time here.

Over the course of your freshman year, you are going to receive advice from almost everyone you meet. Get involved in extracurriculars; go to office hours; take a class in an unknown topic. While these cliché bits of wisdom are certainly valid, we want to throw in our own advice — namely, don’t be afraid to speak up. Loudly.

AASA was established in 1971 to fight for the creation of an Asian American Studies program on campus and for greater recognition to be awarded to the Asian-American community. Throughout the years, we have expanded from supporting Asian-American education to launching projects and hosting events to celebrate the diversity of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture; to devising solutions to issues in AAPI politics; and to giving students the chance to engage in dialogue about imminent problems facing the AAPI community. Although the creation of the Asian American Studies certificate this past year was a triumph for AASA’s efforts, the fight is hardly over for more representation, for more equality, for more progress.

We may be an organization that focuses on the Asian-American experience, but we are not limited to only engaging with members of our own community! As Princeton throws work and other stressors at you, it is easy to be consumed by the pressures of campus life. But we cannot forget that we exist within a bigger world than just our campus.

You are walking in the same halls as student activists who conducted a 36-hour sit-in and demanded more courses in LatinX and Asian-American studies. You are taking classes in the same rooms as Helen Zia ’73, the noted Asian-American journalist and activist. You are living with peers who helped advocate for Princeton’s Asian American Studies program. And now, it is your turn. We want you to make your own impact on Princeton and to add your voice to the conversations we are having on campus about the Asian-American experience.

We welcome you to find the place to make your mark on campus alongside us; remember that AASA is a place for anyone, regardless of ethnicity or political beliefs. Feel free to talk to us at our Activities Fair booth, during the Carl A. Fields day event, or at our Welcome Dinner on Sept. 18. We are so excited to meet you all and to welcome you to the Princeton community!

With love,

The Asian American Students Association

This piece is part of a series of welcome letters to the Class of 2022. Extracurricular organizations are encouraged to contribute submissions to opinion@dailyprincetonian.com.

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