Student center

AAPI student center offers community amid sense of isolation – The Daily Evergreen

AAPISC open to all ethnicities, employs over 20 student mentors


More than 20 student mentors work for AAPISC. Most were mentored by members of the upper class when they started at WSU.

Many freshmen and sophomores begin life away from home for the first time, resulting in feelings of isolation from family and friends. The Center for Asian and Pacific Islander Students is designed to bridge this gap.

AAPISC retention counselor Dom Faga’autau said he started as a mentor at the center as a student and has now worked there for more than 10 years.

“We want to be a place where people can start families and build lasting relationships,” he said.

AAPISC is open to people of all ethnic backgrounds although it is geared towards the AAPI community, Faga’autau said. Currently, the center helps more than 48 sub-ethnic groups, most of whom are freshmen and sophomores.

The center is designed to connect students to resources, provide mentorships, organize cultural events and support students in their academic journeys, he said.

More than 20 student mentors work for AAPISC. Most were mentored by members of the upper class when they started at WSU. Junior Hospitality Maj. Lee-Joseph Franco said he came to WSU from Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, and contacted AAPISC for assistance.

Franco said AAPISC found him a fellow student mentor from Hawaii and it was a great experience as an underclass. The experience motivated Franco to become a mentor himself.

“I had a student reach out to me and tell me he wasn’t doing well in his classes,” he said. “We reduced him to being lost in the workload, so I created a calendar/planner for him, to help him manage his workload.”

WSU is located in a predominantly white region devoid of many cultural elements that students found solace in at home. Losing touch with a person’s cultural identity can lead to feelings of isolation, he said. AAPISC fills this gap for ethnic students.

“These centers are not just there to serve students of their specific ethnic backgrounds,” Franco said. “If you need help, all of our student mentors are always there for you.”

AAPISC has not yet set its office hours for the academic year, but can be reached at [email protected] or (509) 335-1986. AAPISC is currently reorganizing its website but is active on Twitter, Facebook and instagram.