Elijah Davis, president of IC Asian American Alliance (AAA), was recently
informed that AAA has been awarded “Student Organization of the Year” by IC’s Office
of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs (OSEMA). How did this budding
organization obtain such high praise? In this interview, Elijah discusses the obstacles of
his unconventional presidency as well as his insights on what makes a student
organization shine. Elijah’s formula for success harkens on the classic principles that
many organizations uphold: collaboration, ambition, and lots and lots of commitment.
Easier said than done.
Major: Computer Science Year: Junior Class of 2013 Extracurricular Activities: President of IC Asian American Alliance Interests: art, drawing, fashion, manga, and the occasional movie and tv series Favorite place to study: The 3rd floor of the Center for Natural Sciences building
How did you get involved in IC Asian American Alliance?
I came to a club meeting. Growing up in a pretty mixed community in Brooklyn, NY –
there was a mixture of Asian people and black people in the public school I went to so I
have always been used to being exposed to people who look different from me. A lot of
my friends are of Asian descent growing up and I’ve always been the most comfortable
In that regard, does AAA offer a familiar environment and safe space?
Familiar, yes. Safe…well, I do get the occasional criticism or strange look from people
who often remark “Oh, who's this black guy, and why is he interested in Asian
You may not know her by name, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen her around campus. Flora Wang is most likely to be found in the depths of The Ithacan’s office designing a new layout for the newspaper’s latest issue. Between her duties to The Ithacan and to her classes in the Park School of Communications, Flora dedicates a significant amount of time to executive board meetings for IC Asian American Alliance, a student organization that she helms as vice president. Flora is only a second semester sophomore, but already she flaunts an impressive array of leadership experience. During this interview, I discover that this friendly and outgoing undergraduate teems with bottomless ambition.
Major: Communication Management and Design Year: Sophomore Class of 2014 Extracurricular Activities: Vice President of IC Asian American Alliance, Assistant Design Editor for The Ithacan, and Park Association of Journalists of Color
What social and academic factors impacted your decision to attend IC?
I came to IC, because I wanted to challenge myself. I’m an international student from Taiwan and where I’m from most people are of Taiwanese heritage. When my peers in high school began the college selection process, they all opted to attend what we call “name schools,” which are very well known universities and colleges. I thought to myself: What would it be like to go to a relatively unknown school? What would it be like to go to a school with people who didn’t look like me? Ithaca College was an opportunity to discover the answers to my questions.
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
Extra-Curricular Activities: Co- President of Brothers 4 Brothers, Senator of SGA
Why did you decide to attend IC?
I chose to attend IC because I was accepted into the Park School with a major in Television- Radio. I was also given the privilege of being a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar; the campus gave me everything I could ask for.
What are some of the most influential, thought-provoking, or even
life-changing classes you’ve taken at IC that you’d recommend to your
This is a difficult question. I definitely would say Critical Race Theory with Dr. Eversley Bradwell. This class allowed me the opportunity to critically engage in topics that include race. The class time was used to develop impacting conversation. My group of classmates was also committed to having those talks and doing the work outside of class, which I really respected and enjoyed.
You and a group of students are running for Student
Government Association (SGA). What’s your platform’s name/motto and
what values does your platform advocate for?
Our ticket's name is "Be Heard," we want students to be empowered on campus and find agency in the people who represent them in addition to knowing who they are. We live in a digital age and human interaction is so limited. We have to begin to incorporate dialogue on various platforms so students, not only come to us to speak on issues relevant to them, but also what will affect the campus in the future.
The moment I learned that Ithaca College did not have an Asian American Studies minor program, I knew that things had to change. I felt compelled to change IC’s curriculum not only because I am among the minority population of Asian American students at this school, but because there was supposed to be a program when the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity was established at IC in 1999. I grew increasingly frustrated over the invisibility of Asian America in society, in the media, and now in my curriculum. I wanted to change the narrative society told about Asian America by first challenging the one told by my local community. In order to do this, IC needed to recognize and integrate Asian America in their curriculum, but how was I, a mere student, going to change institutional policy? It was as simple as signing up for a class.