Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

8th annual Asian Pacific American Empowerment Conference (APAEC8)

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    It was an early cold, windy Saturday morning in October. University of North Texas (UNT), where the conference took place, is a fairly large school. After checking in, we were treated with a generous breakfast menu which included fruits, bagels, juice, and other sweet items. Being the first ones there, our group took our time eating breakfast as we watched the room fill up with groups from other schools. The conference officially started at 10 A.M. when the facilitators introduced APAEC – Asian Pacific American Empowerment Conference, and gave a shout out to all the schools that were participating. Besides UTD, there was UT Austin, UT San Antonio, UT Arlington, University of Houston, Oklahoma State University,  Oklahoma University and of course, UNT. Most of the participants were from an Asian culture student organization at their campus, and it was interesting to find that more than half of those were Vietnamese student groups.

        The conference was basically composed of multiple speaker sessions, beginning and ending with two keynote speakers and workshops in between. The first keynote speaker was a professor as well as a writer who has a PhD in Ethnic Studies, Dr. Oliver Wang. His speech covered “Asian American Transformations in Pop Culture”. “How could this be interesting enough to last an hour?” I thought. It was still too early for me and the thought of sitting through an hour lecture is dreadful. To my surprise, his presentation was not at all a lecture; instead, he entertained the audience with his research on current pop culture such as the Far East Movement group, Jeremy Lin, and the Gangnam Style. Of course, his humor also made the presentation much more enjoyable.

    Fast forward past ice breakers and lunch time, came the breakout sessions where I got to pick two out of nine workshops to attend. There were a wide variety of topics ranging from culture in music to communication styles. The first workshop I attended taught me the key points of planning a project –assigning responsibilities, allocating resources and presenting the idea. With a smaller group in my second workshop, the attendees got to interact more with the presenter as we discussed the techniques in preparing an effective ‘elevator speech’. “Not only should you know your strengths, knowing your weaknesses and how to improve is equally important”, said Ms. Kim Cummings during the workshop. Both of the workshops were informative and gave me new skills to take away.

    When the two breakout sessions were over, it was 4 P.M. I was tired, sleepy, and ready to head back home. But, there was another item on the agenda, the second keynote speaker. Ms. Duy-Loan Le is a well-known figure with many accomplishments in the engineering field, specifically with Texas Instruments. Her speech was about “aspiration”, which I am very interested in, although I did not have the energy for it at the moment. But guess what? She gave me the energy! From the first words of her speech, I could hear the confidence and passion in her voice. She told the audience her life story and what motivates her to do what she does; and that just inspired us all. Her speech made me think about the activities that I am involved in. Yes, I like what I do. But only when I love what I do, would I enjoy every second doing it. Her speech was a great way to end the conference, giving us inspiration before we left Denton. Inspiration to do more, to be part of something bigger – the kind of inspiration that changes the world.

Author: Vi Tran

    Vi is a Multicultural Peer Advocate in the Multicultural Center. She is responsible for assisting in the planning and execution of asian programming and other cultural events in the enter. She is working on her Master’s in Information Technology and Management in the JSOM here at UT Dallas. She likes to have fun and be active on campus. Look for more blog posts from her in the future.

The Hispanic Heritage Celebration!

In Cultural Programs, Diversity, Hispanic on October 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

The Multicultural Center presented the culmination event for the National Hispanic Heritage Month at UTD, celebrated also in the U.S. from September 15th and October 15th. It included a variety of representations of the Hispanic culture in the forms of food, people, music, and dance. For the surprise of many people, the music and dancing were not originated from Latin America but from Spain- a group of three performers: two women that danced flamenco while a man played the traditional Spanish guitar. A lot of people were expecting salsa, merengue, or other type of Latin America dance- the stereotype most of us have in our heads when we hear the word “Hispanic”. This reminds us that Spain has a huge influence in our Latino culture, and that Hispanic doesn’t necessarily mean Latino, but it refers to the Spanish speaking population throughout the world. Actually, if you look up the definition of the word “Hispanic” it will definitely include the words “Spanish descendant”.

The scrumptious enchilada lunch was catered by Desperado’s Mexican Restaurant.

An important highlight of this event was most definitely Dr. Alex Piquero’s speech about the Latino culture in America and his own personal story.

Dr. Alex Piquero shares his story during the Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

He started his speech with something like “I shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be here”, referring to the low percentage of Hispanics who attend college and an even lower percentage of Hispanics who actually graduate from college. He pointed out how he grew up “the poorest of the poor” and how his parents worked extremely hard and showed him to work hard to achieve great things. He said that the most valuable lesson his dad gave him was to work hard- “work hard, then work harder, and when you think you’ve worked hard enough, work even harder, because someone else is working harder than you for the same thing”. Personally, Dr. Piquero’s speech was my favorite speech from all the MC events I have attended, not only he is a great public speaker but his input to the program was very relevant and he had great examples and personal experiences to share with the audience.

After Dr. Piquero’s speech, the celebration part began- music and dancing! The group explained how Flamenco originated in Southern Spain and they even had a member from that area! The other dancer was from Cuba which I thought was interesting since it goes back to my point of Latinos having a strong Spanish heritage.  They performed a few classic pieces and gave a brief explanation about each of them. This was definitely a great closing for the event, and for the Hispanic Heritage Month.

Once again, the Multicultural Center enlightened us with a diversified and culture rich event! I am sure many people like me also took a valuable lesson from Dr. Piquero’s speech to work hard, work harder, and even harder to achieve great things! And please remember, the next time you hear the word “Hispanic” it doesn’t necessarily mean Latino!

Author: Sarina Simental

Sarina is a Multicultural Peer Advocate in the Multicultural Center. She is responsible for assisting in the planning and execution of hispanic programming and other cultural events in the enter. She is working on her Master’s in Accounting in the JSOM here at UT Dallas. She likes to have fun and be active on campus. Look for more blog posts from her in the future.


In Cultural Programs, Diversity, Hispanic on September 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm

It was a somber Monday and rain clouds were looming. The sounds of buzzing saws, students chatting and other construction equipment were echoing through the air. People were stopping by the Plinth, wondering why speakers were being set up and balloons were being placed on the plinth.

Suddenly, a loud voice boomed, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month, that’s why were putting them out. The students looked puzzled. The man, who later identified himself as Bruce August, coordinator from the Multicultural Center, continued to explain what the month was about and went on to tell them about the upcoming events in the next 30 days celebrating Hispanics Heritage Month. The Multicultural Peer Advocates were spotted handing out information to other students about what was about to transpire outside on the Plinth.

Within the next hour, the sun peeked around the clouds and shed some light on the plinth and the rest of the Student Union mall area. Sounds of multiple Latin cultures filled the airways attracted many guests to sit on the steps of the Student Union after receiving cake and punch from the Multicultural Center.

Shortly, one of the MC staff stepped on the Plinth and introduced Munaityka, a Peruvian Dance troupe based out of Dallas, Texas. Their dances were lively and the costumes definitely amazing. The first dance was a cultural dance relating to their indigenous roots in Peru.

In-between their sets, their band performed. Their instruments included a flute, box drum, two guitars and 3 vocalists. The second was a partner dance between two of the members, and the third dance consisted of very detailed costumes that no one in the audience would dare to put on in the sun. The final dance paid tribute to their African roots of which many of their dances are derived from.

Munaitkya Peruvian Folklore

All in All, the MC kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month in grand fashion. We have plenty of events lined up for the month. Check out our Facebook page for more pictures and information regarding Hispanic Heritage Month! See you at the next event!

Many Stories, Many Backgrounds…One American Spirit!

In Cultural Programs, Diversity, Hispanic on September 17, 2012 at 12:53 am
Hispanic Heritage Poster

Click the image for more information on programs for the month!

It’s that time of year again! We are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month at UTD!

We are proud to sponsor a series of events to celebrate Hispanic culture at UTD. Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Check out (http://1.usa.gov/alKyup) for more info.

Our theme for the month is: Many Stories, Many Backgrounds…One American Spirit!”

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Our first event is the Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff!

Our first event of the month will showcase Munaytika Peruvian Folklore, a Peruvian Dance Troupe based in Dallas, Texas. Rafael Chaves, leader of the group, says “we are excited to bring some of the indigenous culture to UT Dallas. It is a honor to come and share our culture with you.”

The event will start at 12:00 pm on the Plinth. Cake and Punch will be given out as well. The remaining events for the month will be announced and a few pieces of MC “Swag” will be handed out.

Hope to see you there!

The Multicultural Center…Who are We?

In Diversity, General on September 17, 2012 at 12:49 am

The MC

Welcome to the UT Dallas Multicultural Center Blog! We are new to this but we are excited to share our story with you as we serve the students, staff and faculty of UT Dallas.

The Multicultural Center is committed to providing providing a variety of quality cultural programs, educational resources, leadership opportunities and support services that enhance the ability of UT Dallas students to achieve success in their personal and work lives to positively impact a rapidly changing and diverse world.

We have a host of contributors for our blog; so follow us and get up close and personal with us as we share, promote and discuss multiculturalism and diversity at our University and abroad.

Most of all, we care about UTD Students! So make your voice known and heard here! Let us know how we can serve or help you!

Check out our blog here, website, twitter and/or facebook…We are always doing something or campus or in our office. Come see us!

Student Centered. Diversity Driven.


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