A home away from home

October 16, 2018

The Office of Multicultural Student Success is hosting a month-long celebration to recognize Filipino American Heritage,


To kick off the nationally-celebrated history month, the Filipino American Association gathered students Oct. 4 in the Trimble Lounge to enjoy Filipino food and teach traditional dances.


“The kickoff was great,” FAA Events Coordinator Dhara Patel said. “Overall, it was a successful event. We had a lot of people show up and we had a lot of people join that were just passing by. It was a good way to get people culturally aware of what FAA is about.”


In a continued effort to contribute to the October celebration, a dance workshop for students to learn Filipino cultural dances is taking place 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 in the dance studio of the Health Education/ROTC Building.


“Everyone is welcome,” Patel said. “It’s midterms week and it would be a great way to release some steam.”

Last week, FAA gathered in the Student Union once again to teach students how to prepare a traditional dessert of the Philippines named Halo-halo.


Member Daniel Patricio-Agosto said he faced challenges in high school expressing his multicultural background (half Filipino/half Puerto Rican) and through the FAA, he was able to showcase his heritage through dance, workshops and learning his language. He said the organization has brought him closer to discovering his identity.


“It’s been a mechanism to express myself,” Patricio-Agosto said.


FAA started 10 years ago when a fellow first-year student approached Rosendo Delacruz asking if there were Filipino organizations on campus. Delacruz realized there weren’t any and asked if she wanted to help him start one.


“October 14, 2009, UT recognized FAA as an official organization,” Delacruz said. “It’s very humbling because I never had an idea they would be doing half of what they’re doing. It makes me proud.”


The FAA is organized in seven interdependent families which include Proud, Lazy, Cut Throat, Sexy, Get That Money, Top Tank and Masters, with each family consisting of six to seven members. New members are introduced to their families based on their interests.


“We’re a home away from home,” Patel said. “Even though we are a big organization, once members have a family, they are more welcomed and comfortable. It’s easier for a member to get to know six people at a time, compared to 50 people.”


This semester, they started out with 60 active members and acquired 38 new members, FAA President Farzana Qurbanali said.


“It’s a really effective way to network and connect with other student Filipino organizations in surrounding states,” Vice President Internal of FAA Brandon Cruz said.


Each year, UT’s Filipino American Association invites students from the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans from universities such as Indiana University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan along on a MAFA Cedar Point trip and picnic.


Cruz recalled one of his favorite memories when he first joined the organization as a freshman. He said his group, “Get that Money,” instantly welcomed him.


“We would hang out, go get dinner and watch movies,” Cruz said. “It meant so much to me because I moved here from Illinois. It was a good way to make friends and get involved right away.”


Treasurer Diana Chiem said FAA’s goal is to raise $1,500 each semester through its three major fundraisers.  


“It is really fun to see smiles on new members’ faces when they are welcomed into a family; they feel like they belong,” Cruz said.


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