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Life@W&M - David Fernandez '20

Life@W&M - David Fernandez '20

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Week 306 — June 8 - 14, 2020 This account showcases "a week in the life" of our amazing students, faculty, and staff and features the range of opportunities and activities available both on campus and off.

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I had so much to write about this club I divided it into two posts Part 1: The most meaningful involvement I’ve had on campus has been the Filipino American Student Association (FASA). Luckily enough, I found that FASA was a wonderful community of Filipino Americans that was welcoming to everyone no matter if you were Filipino or not.  At the root of the club was the sense of family.  Throughout the year we cultivate this family through various events and activities—FASA does everything from a welcome week filled with activities for new members, to dinners, formals, and shows.  It has been amazing to see FASA’s growth through the years.  When I joined membership was around 40-50 people with even fewer that were truly active.  As of last school year there were over 100 FASA club members.  To me this displayed the immense effort the club has put into being a leader in the college community.  Upholding our sense of family while still continuing to be welcoming and friendly towards anyone who wishes to join. At the root of the club is culture.  FASA tries to implement as much Filipino and Filipino American culture into our events.  During every general body meeting we have a culture presentation by our culture chairs.  Our biggest annual event Culture Night tackles many topics of Filipino identity—from the dictatorship of president Marcos to the meaning of being a Filipino American living in the US all while incorporating singing, dancing, acting (all, which I might add, is student produced and led). Through FASA I can say that I’ve been able to meet some of my best friends at W&M.  I have found a safe space where my experiences/grievances as minority on this campus can be heard and understood without judgement. @wmfasa #williamandmary #FASA

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Today I’ll be covering my time as an Orientation Aide! Although I was only an OA for my senior year, I was fortunate enough to be able to introduce the college to some wonderful “constituents,” aka my freshman hall, Fauquier 3rd Lower in Botetourt!  I gained some valuable insight into the new student orientation process and made some amazing friends along the way! As a transfer student, coming from an orientation experience that takes place in the middle of summer with a group of people that are not even your freshman hall and will likely never see again, W&M’s orientation was a breath of fresh air.  I could see genuine connections being made within halls and a much more meaningful process than what I previously experienced. I won’t give you the run down on the role of an OA as I feel like half the people in this page already do that, but I will say that one of the most meaningful parts of the experience was the connections I’ve made with my hall.  It was genuinely fun to run into F3L throughout the school year and hear about their experiences as they were getting used to their first year at William & Mary. I will say that I wish that the Orientation Staff as a whole was more representative of the diverse W&M population as it has been traditionally controlled by greek life.  I wish to see more encouragement and recruitment of BIPOCs in the OA staff to show our incoming students the various experiences that countless students have on campus.  I believe this needs to start with the FYE office and with OADs to put forward a staff that best represents the college community! Lastly, abig shout out to my co’s @komcgeehan @elizabethdowker, my amazing OADs @jondavid.nichols @kailyn_elisee, and the whole Botetourt staff! #williamandmary #orientation #fye @wmfye

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One of the reasons I transferred to W&M was because of the courses and majors they offered!  I heard that W&M had enough courses to offer a major in Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies, now under the Global Studies Department! Taking APIA classes didn’t just help me understand my own identity, but the intersectionality of different topics because of its multidisciplinary curriculum.  The major helped me learn how to think critically and tackle various problems through different lenses and angles, ultimately helping me become a better writer and communicator. I believe the APIA department is like no other on campus.  The faculty make an effort to really get to know you and all the majors often interact with one another because of the various events APIA hosts throughout the year.  One such event was the Banh Mi Lecture Series (aka free food), where the department would bring in speakers from all over the country to talk about their areas of study.  Furthermore, the department has fostered a feeling of community between the professors, majors, and anyone who has taken an APIA class, which in my opinion is quite unique. Lastly, I cannot talk about this major without applying what I learned.  We need to apply the same intersectional perspective to the BLM movement.  If you’re fighting and advocating for BLM, you also need to advocate for criminal justice reform, education reform, and countless other issues because these are all connected.  If you were outraged over the racism Asian Americans face over the Coronavirus pandemic, you need to be outraged over the systematic racism that African Americans experience.  Allyship between minority communities is essential at this time.  The systems in place are designed to exploit one group at the expense of the other, and we cannot continue to let this happen.  Asian Americans must break from the stereotype of the model minority—being a-political/passive, to advocating for BLM, and push for more BIPOC hires. #williamandmary #BIPOC #APIA #AAPI #EthnicStudies #BLM @apia_wm

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