Being mixed race, in my case half Filipina and half White, can cause some confusion on how to identify yourself. It starts to feel like you don’t fit into any category. I’m neither Asian enough nor white enough, which leaves me in some sort of in-between. Claire Hendee, a sophomore at CU Boulder, also understands what it’s like to fall between two identities and decided to start a chapter of “In Between” this year. Read on for an exclusive interview with Hendee and more information on this brand new club and how to get involved!
- Can you describe the club to me?
Claire Hendee: In Between’s mission is to unite and support those in the Asian American community at CU who feel they don’t strongly identify with their Asian or American culture. This includes Wasians, Hapas, adoptees, children of Asian immigrants, students who feel in-between cultures, and students who feel strongly about their identity and want to help others who feel in between. If you’re drawn to multiple cultures and feel in between, this organization supports those feelings.
- How did you learn about the In Between organization?
CH: It was originally started at UC Berkeley, and over the summer I joined a Subtle Asian Adoptees group where I met the founder of the organization. Through that, I was able to reach out and let her know I was interested in starting a chapter at CU Boulder and we were able to get that started.
- Why did you decide to start the club at CU Boulder?
CH: I wanted to start it here because a) I knew that In Between was a growing organization and b) I’ve been having in-between feelings ever since freshman year. I started taking Chinese classes, and since I’m adopted, I was drawn to that feeling of in-between because its a very real feeling, especially for the adoptee community, to feel like you don’t belong. For me, it was trying to figure out how to find my Chinese side, of being Chinese-American, while staying American.
- Why should people join the club? What can they expect?
CH: People should join if they feel in-between their Asian or American Culture. It’s obviously not a set formula that you have to be Asian or American to be a part of this club. I think reaching out to people who feel in-between other cultures is totally fine.
- How can people join? Do you have an application?
CH: We have a Facebook group and an Instagram page. There isn’t a formal application process to join. You just need to reach out to one of those platforms to get in touch with one of the executive members. From there, if you join the Facebook group, you start getting updates about the group and zoom links for meetings. We meet every other Thursday at 7:30 pm, and our next meeting is on September 17!
- What happens at your meetings?
CH: It kind of depends on the meeting. Sometimes we’re doing an all social event or we mainly do discussions. Our next meeting is going to be Mulan trivia related, so it’s going to be both informational and social. We’re going to be discussing our views surrounding the controversy, so it starts with a social aspect but becomes a more informational discussion.
- What sets this club apart from others at CU?
CH: I think there are a lot of clubs at CU that are related to being Asian, but not specifically the feelings of being in-between. During the discussion at our first meeting, a lot of people told me that they think this club is very different from the rest because we explore that feeling. Some people don’t feel like they fit in all the way with an Asian club or organization on campus due to feelings of not being Asian enough or feeling too white/American. Having a place where they can be both, and explore those parts without judgment, is an important factor.
- Is there an opportunity to join the leadership team this year?
CH: We have exec positions open! There are five total exec positions and were still looking for three people to fill out the positions of VP of service, VP of finance, and VP of design. The ones that are already filled are VP of internal affairs and VP of cultural outreach. There’s definitely room to grow within the organization, but we also make sure to listen to every member and have discussions that everyone is interested in.
- With COVID, what alterations are you making this year?
CH: Because we are a very new organization this semester, we’re kind of just feeling out how this semester will look. We never got the chance to see what it would be like having an in-person element, so being virtual is the only thing that we’re used to. It’s going to be all online this semester for safety reasons, but next semester if things start opening up again, we’re definitely planning on trying for some in-person events.
- Where can people find you on social media?
I think this club is going to be an amazing addition to this campus. I’m so excited to finally have a space to find and relate to people who understand this feeling of not belonging fully to either identity. I’d also like to give a huge shout out and thank you to Claire Hendee for taking the time to have this interview with me!
~ Oriel Voegele