Written by: James Fortier
Originally published here
After a long day of fierce yet friendly competition with the 40 other organizations in attendance, the Filipino American Association of Sonoma State University (FAASSU) arrived at a top-three finish for the second year in a row at the 30th annual Friendship Games at Cal State Fullerton in October.
FAASSU is the largest multicultural organization at Sonoma State, with over 70 active members. The organization aims to bring the Filipino community together and to educate people on the role of Filipinos in American history. "Our goal is to promote our culture and to be able to embrace people's different backgrounds, especially because the majority of our members aren't exclusively Filipino," says Stacey Smyth, president of FAASSU.
FAASSU has been on campus since 1995, and every strong finish at the Friendship Games helps the group continue its legacy at Sonoma State. "It shows to the community here how much we care about our heritage," says Smyth. "We feel it validates our presence here, and we want people to recognize the work we put in to show who we are."
FAASSU practiced roughly three times a week for two months in preparation for the event, splitting its members into specialized groups in order to master each of the five separate games. The group also prepared for the spirit and dance portions of the event.
"We really pour our heart and soul into practicing for the Friendship Games," says Adriann Dizon, vice president of FAASSU. "We see it as an opportunity to represent both our culture and our school, so we really give it everything we've got."
FAASSU recently attended Hillel's Shabbat dinner and is currently planning mixers with the Black Student Union. "We're very supportive of other multicultural organizations on campus," said Smyth.
The organization uses both social media and traditional methods like tabling to spread the word about their events, and the results have shown. "When I was a freshman not many people even knew who we were," says Smyth. "But now we're getting feedback from students and faculty, and that really means a lot to us."
FAASSU's dedication to diversity is exemplified on Pacific Culture Night, an annual event showcasing the song and dance of Pacific Islander and Filipino cultures. Other organizations like the Black Student Union, Hillel, and the Blue Baronz have been invited to perform as well. This year the event takes place for the first time in Weill Hall on Apr. 29.