Purdue’s Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center celebrates Heritage Month

The Purdue Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC) will be celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month during the months of April and May. 

AAPI Heritage Month originated in 1992 when then New York congressmen Frank Hortin introduced the bill calling for the month of May to receive the designation. May was selected for two reasons: First, to commemorate the arrival of the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. on May 7, 1843; secondly, to honor the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which upward of 20,000 Chinese workers helped to construct. The month pays tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched the United States history and are instrumental in its future success. 

To celebrate the month, the AAARCC will be sharing stories of Asian American, Asian, and Pacific Islander Boilermakers to highlight their early and ongoing positive impact on our campus community and beyond.  

A place to call home

After many years of student, faculty, staff and community advocacy, the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center was officially founded in January 2015. The newest of the cultural centers, the AAARCC joined the Black Cultural Center, Latino Cultural Center, Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and LGBTQ Center as an integral component in fostering a diverse and inclusive campus.

AAARC building After spending its first full academic year in the Stewart Center, the AAARCC moved into a house at 915 5th Street and has been located there since Fall 2016. Victoria Loong, a Purdue graduate, was named director of the AAARCC by G. Christine Taylor, Ph.D., the vice provost for diversity and inclusion at the time. Loong had been involved in the early planning for the center during her years as a student leader and returned as an alumna to be its inaugural director.

Current director, Pam Sari, Ph.D., also began her interaction with the center as a student and remembers those early days.

“I was involved with the Asian Pacific American Caucus (APAC) on campus that worked to bring awareness about identities and lived experiences of Purdue Asian American and Asian communities. It was clear that different student organizations on campus, including APAC, needed and wanted the university to provide a cultural center. APAC joined other organizations, such as the Asian Student Union Board, to form a Student-Led Steering Committee for the Founding of the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center. Our desired center’s name was long, but it reflected a commitment to tell the different, but intersecting histories of Asian American and Asian international communities on campus, and to continue building bridges inside these groups and between these groups and the rest of campus.”  

Sari says the AAARCC continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community. She points to the fact that the Asian and Asian American populations are among the fastest growing nationwide, both within higher education specifically as well as throughout the country as a whole.

“Purdue’s campus community has been reflective of these demographic shifts, as Asian American and Asian student population on campus is going strong at around 12,000 individuals.”

Particularly, in today’s cultural and social environment, Sari says, the AAARCC is a critical campus asset.

“AAARCC first and foremost reflects Purdue University’s commitment in acknowledging the lived experiences of the Asian American and Asian communities on campus, and the commitment to weave these important histories into academic teaching and learning, cultural work, and advocacy. Through the center’s programming, we hope Purdue students, faculty, staff can clearly see how their histories and voices matter, that they can find their place and home both at the AAARCC and the larger Purdue campus.”

During AAPI Heritage month, watch for the highlights that emphasize the contributions of Asian American and Asian communities at Purdue.


915 5th Street (corner 5th/Waldron)
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Email: aaarcc@purdue.edu 
Phone: 765-496-0488  
Fax: 765-494-1225

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Center Hours

Monday - Friday
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 PM

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