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.
What challenges have you faced while occupying prominent roles in campus organizations such as The Ithacan and IC Asian American Alliance (AAA)? How have these experiences furthered your educational and personal development?
The challenges I’ve faced working with these two groups has certainly helped me grow. My experiences in both of these environments have made me realize how important it is for each member within a team to work together and communicate effectively for the benefit of the whole. It’s important that everyone’s on the same page. For The Ithacan, I design fronts (layouts) every week, which requires me to communicate to other staff members who are photographers, writers, and editors so that I can convey their stories through my visual designs. AAA has recently been a challenge for me more than ever, because it’s Focus Asia Month, a month-long celebration and recognition of Asia/Asian America. AAA organizes events every week that are sociopolitical, cultural, or both! A lot of planning goes into this month – advertising, PR, event planning, and so much more. You would think that we all work separately as e-board members with specific roles, but everything is actually a collaborative effort and collective vision. As vice president of AAA it’s up to me to make sure communication occurs between all members of the group. Without effective communication, our organization and any organization could not function effectively!
It sounds like Focus Asia Month (FAM) is a month-long Stress Fest, but what aspects of this month have made the labor rewarding?
One of the most exciting aspects of FAM this year is the campaign a couple of my fellow e-board members and I came up with. Our campaign “Misrepresented: We Are Not a Stereotype” was meant to promote Asia Month, advertise AAA in general, and raise awareness of the prevalent misconceptions and stereotypes imposed on Asian/Asian American identities. Even though the planning of the ad campaign was stressful, I receive the rewards of my hard work every time I see people around campus taking their time to look at the huge FAM calendar we made, which includes pictures of real IC students addressing stereotypes about Asians/Asian Americans. It’s exciting, because not everyone who participated in the campaign is Asian/Asian American, which just further disrupts the misconception that Asian identity/issues pertain only to Asian/Asian American people. It’s great to see the rewards of the ad campaign. People recognize and notice the ad campaign for its political message and are also beginning to “like” AAA a lot more…at least on Facebook!
What event(s) during Focus Asia Month are you looking forward to the most?
The biggest event of the year for AAA, of course! Asia Night! My e-board and I have been planning this one night for months! This night is a collection of detailed tasks which range from booking performers, securing a venue, planning the menu, creating fliers and posters, organizing activity tables, getting volunteers, and bombarding all of our Facebook friends with invites to the event!
Not only have you been planning for Asia Night, you’re also performing in it!
Yes, I’m doing two performances! I’m dancing with IC Bubble Girls, an all-girl dance group that premiered at Asia Night last year. This year, we are dancing to a song that combines two Korean pop songs. I’m also singing a song called “Ji De,” a popular love song in Taiwan, and two of my friends are accompanying me!
Check out Flora’s performances at IC Asian American Alliance’s “Asia Night” THIS Friday April 13th, 2012 from 7PM-10PM in Emerson Suites. FREE ENTRANCE! $5 per plate of food!
RSVP to the Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/324898360906657/