Southeast Asian Student Coalition

Empowerment in the SEA community

Southeast Asian Student Coalition (SASC) is a non-profit, grassroots organization catering, but not limited, to Southeast Asian students on campus. SASC seeks to empower, motivate, and create a community for students while addressing the economic inequalities, social injustices, and political underrepresentation that Southeast Asians face.

Even though it is highly known that a large population on the UC Berkeley campus is “Asian/Pacific Islander,” when you statistically break up that percentage, Southeast Asians actually constitute a very low number of students. In 2011, ASUC Senator Larry Bach found that only about 3 percent of students admitted that fall were identified as Southeast Asians: 133 Vietnamese, 11 Thai, 10 Hmong, 8 Cambodian, and 5 Laotian students out of over 5,000 admits.

Southeast Asians are underrepresented on this campus, but SASC is here to help! SASC has multiple programs geared different ways to uplift and enlighten the Southeast Asian community on and off-campus.

SASC Anthology documents the undocumented memories and stories of Southeast Asians and the Vietnam War experience through creative writing. Anthology annually publishes chapbooks for others to read, learn, and continue to share and pass on these stories.

The External Relations program of SASC fosters Southeast Asian communities outside of Berkeley and across California in an effort to empower one another while creating a community of Southeast Asian organizations and groups. Similarly, Internal Relations works on building a community with other organizations within the Berkeley campus and community.

Southeast Asian Mentorship (SEAM) is a group mentorship for high school students in Richmond, Oakland, and Berkeley. The mentor-mentee relationship is not only for academic support, but also empowerment in pursuing higher education and learning about Southeast Asian history, as well as creating friendships and bonds.

To further reach outside of campus, SASC has a program called SEAPOP—Southeast Asian Prison Outreach Project. SEAPOP is a pen-pal outreach system between college students in SEAPOP and Southeast Asian prisoners. SEAPOP works on deconstructing the social stigma placed upon the incarcerated by listening to the stories of the incarcerated.

Last but not least, every summer, SASC presents the Summer Institute (SI). SI provides an opportunity for Southeast Asian high school students to experience the college life along with learning about their SEA history and sharing their own stories and experiences. SI is a 5-day, 4-night, all-expenses-paid program for high school students. Throughout the days and nights, students participate in workshops that incorporate education (SEA culture, food, higher education, and history) into a memorable bonding experience. Mentees from all over California and across the country are placed with mentors from different college campuses to create a more intimate support system.

Susan Vang, a first year undergraduate at UC Berkeley, shares her story as a Hmong student impacted by the works of SASC. Vang was a SASC SI mentee in 2010 and, because of her experience at SI, she applied to UC Berkeley and chose to attend.
“Before my first exposure to SASC SI, I felt shameful of being Hmong,” Vang shared, “SASC SI has taught me a piece of my history that no textbook can do… I’ve learned to love myself; to embrace my identity as a Hmong American woman and to cherish my family. I’ve learned to be aware of the struggles that Southeast Asians have faced, politically, socially, academically, and mentally; all of which make me feel that much more thankful for having gotten this far in my life.”

Now Vang is an active member of SASC. She is a mentor with SEAM, a student writer in SEAPOP and a committee member for SASC’s Benefit Concert.

For a small community, SASC makes a big difference in the lives of youth, college students and the environment at UC Berkeley and the community. SASC continues to build leaders, positively influencing students to pursue higher education and to educate and support one another. Through the roots of struggle, SASC finds love and creates a sense of family.

To get more involved:

Upcoming events:
Party with SASC! Come to SASC’s fundraiser SASCerade on April 27, 2012. SASC will have a party bus take people to San Francisco to go to the club! $20 for tickets and bus ride is included. Funds will go towards SASC’s Summer Institute 2012. Visit the SASC website for more information.

June 20th to June 24th will be the 11th annual SASC Summer Institute at the UC Berkeley campus.

Check out the website for upcoming events, general meeting times, and the e-mails directed to the specific programs of your interest!