In 1988, the UW’s Multicultural Student Center (MSC) was born. Its goals were to house academic programs and student support services, to provide a centralized location for sharing information on multicultural events and programs, and to provide “a central meeting place and open environment” for students of color on campus. Exactly 30 years later, those goals were set in stone, literally, for the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American — or APIDA — community on campus. Thanks largely in part to student activists Riley Tsang ’19 and Shannon Thao ’18, the APIDA Student Center opened in the Red Gym in the fall of 2018. But the opening was billed as a “startup,” and the center lacked full-time staff and a completed space. A full remodel was completed in the fall of 2020, giving APIDA students a space of their own for the first time. Though the COVID-19 pandemic dampened the opening, the center — and campus’s numerous APIDA-centered student organizations, swiftly pivoted to online and virtual programming, including this month’s APIDA Heritage Month celebrations.

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