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Harvard College’s Asian American student groups have organized a “Pan-Asian Visitas” to introduce new admits to their organizations and connect prospective students with current undergraduates, as a supplement to the College’s online “Virtual Visitas” programing.
Kalos K. Chu ’22, co-president of the Chinese Students Association, helped organize Pan-Asian Visitas with student leaders of other Asian cultural organizations. He said that the student-organized Black Visitas, created by student groups including the Harvard Black Students Association, inspired him to create a “Pan-Asian Visitas.”
Chu, a Crimson arts editor, said he hopes the programming helps inform prospective students of opportunities for Asian and Asian American students on campus.
“Our goal is not to convince people to come,” Chu said. “I think our goal — as is the goal of Visitas in general — is to give people as much information about Harvard as possible, about what it's like to be a student.”
“And, in this case, about what it's like to be an Asian or Asian American student at Harvard,” he added. “And then for them to make that decision on their own.”
With campus closed and most students away from campus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the College announced that they would move the annual admitted student weekend online. “Virtual Visitas” consists of online programming throughout the month of April.
Part of the programming for Pan-Asian Visitas is taking place on its Instagram page, and includes profiles of various cultural organizations, question-and-answer sessions, and Instagram story takeovers by various clubs.
The Instagram page also spotlights virtual events that student groups are hosting for prospective students over Zoom, a video conference platform. These events vary from a dumpling-making workshop hosted by the Asian American Association to a dance workshop series led by the Asian American Dance Troupe.
Julia H. Riew ’21, former president of the Harvard College Asian Student Arts Project, said she sees the Instagram page as a valuable resource to connect students with others who have similar backgrounds and interests.
“When you start college, I think one really great thing you can do is connect with people who have similar interests or similar cultural backgrounds,” Riew said. “And right now, because Visitas is all online and all through Zoom, it's really nice to kind of have that social media platform.”
Another program designed to connect students is a host-hostee pairing, where newly admitted students are paired with a current Harvard student. Pairings are made based upon shared interests and experiences, which were gleaned from a sign-up form.
More than one hundred prospective students have signed up, according to Chu. And, to his surprise, over one hundred current students have also volunteered.
“The amount of seniors that signed up to be hosts, despite the fact that they've had their last semester ripped away from them, is very heartwarming,” he said. “And I think it's a testament of the fact that people care about the school. People care about the Asian, Asian American community here and want to get back to it.”
Prospective student Corine Chung wrote in a direct message on Instagram that she appreciated the effort students put into organizing Pan-Asian Visitas.
“I love how current Harvard students are taking the initiative to reach out to the class of 2024,” Chung wrote. “I think I can speak on behalf of a lot of prospective students when I say that these student-made resources make us feel a bit more at ease about transitioning into college life, and they definitely make us feel more welcome.”
Correction: April 17, 2020
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Corine Chung's first name.
—Staff writer Jessica Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Christina T. Pham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Christina_TPham.
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