East Coast Asian American Student Union

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East Coast Asian American Student Union
Abbreviation ECAASU
Formation 1977 (ICLC)
1978 (ECASU)
2004 (ECAASU)
2008 (ECAASU, Inc.)
Type Non-profit, Non-partisan, Independent intercollegiate student organization
Purpose Asian-Pacific American advocacy
Headquarters Connecticut
Region served
Eastern United States
Website www.ecaasu.org

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (commonly abbreviated as ECAASU) [1] is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit aiming to inspire, educate, and empower those interested in Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues. Run by volunteers, ECAASU's advocacy work is conducted through outreach to AAPI students organizations across the country and educating individuals through various programs that are held over the course of the year. ECAASU hosts an annual conference, which is currently known as the largest and oldest conference in the country for Asian American students. The organization's membership is primarily composed of universities from the eastern United States while its annual conferences draw students and activists from throughout the United States. ECAASU was originally established in 1978 as the East Coast Asian Student Union (ECASU) before changing its name during 2005 conference. It currently attracts 1,000+ students to its annual conference. The largest ECAASU was held at University of Pennsylvania (March 4–6, 2010) which was attended by almost 1,700 students. Similarly, the 2013 ECAASU conference held at Columbia University drew in over 1,500 students from over 200 different colleges. The 2015 ECAASU conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts and is hosted by four Boston colleges.



To inspire, educate, and empower those interested in Asian American & Pacific Islander American issues.


  1. To strengthen Asian American student organizations through intercollegiate communication in order to serve the social and educational needs of Asian American students
  2. To advance the social equality of minorities by eliminating prejudice and discrimination, defending human and civil rights, and combating racism and hate crimes by activities permitted under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code.
  3. To encourage Asian Americans to participate in the electoral process through non-partisan and, unbiased voter registration, get-out-the-vote, and voter education drives that are not restricted to one election period and are carried out in more than five states.
  4. To promote community-building and mutual understanding among Asian Americans with different nationalities and all people of color


Early movements[edit]

The 1960s is often noted as a period of social transformation of U.S. society, headed by the Civil Rights struggles and the anti-war movement, and fueled by the awakening to the injustice and inequality rooted deep in the contractions of U.S. society. Asian Americans began to critically reexamine their own experiences. Some Asian Americans students, disillusioned and outraged at the U.S. war of aggression in Vietnam, were among the first to organize anti-war protests.

Inspired by the civil rights struggles, Asian American students struggled alongside other Third World students at San Francisco State and across the country to demand that the university serve the people and open its doors to students of color. After exhausting all channels of communications, Third World students resorted to rallies, sit-ins, and takeovers that forced the University to open its doors. Thus, Asian Americans won the right to a quality education and enter universities and colleges in significant numbers. Ethnic studies and other supportive programs were established to make education relevant to them.

During the early 1970s, Asian American organizations were established to deal with their specific needs and concerns. Asian American student organizations (ASO's) were formed on campuses throughout the East Coast to address the issues of identity and educational rights. The first Asian American student organization was the Yale Asian American Students Association (Yale AASA), which was established in 1969. The group had 69 largely undergraduate members, who persuaded the Yale admissions office to recruit more Asian American students, organized campaigns around repealing Title II of the 1950 McCarren Act and to seek a fair trial for Black Panther Bobby Seale, developed the first Asian American Studies course on the East Coast (Spring semester 1970), and organized the first East Coast Asian American student conference, "Asians in America," which was held at Yale in April, 1970. Over 300 students from over 40 different colleges attended. Members of Yale AASA, led by editor Lowell Chun-Hoon and publisher Don Nakanishi, both members of Yale's Class of 1971, founded Amerasia Journal, the first academic journal for the field of Asian American Studies. The first issue was released in March, 1971. Some Asian American students formed community organizations to address basic issues of housing and health services.

Impact of the Bakke decision[edit]

In 1978, the Supreme Court upheld Allan Bakke's claim that he had not been admitted to UC Davis medical school due to "reverse discrimination." To many people, this decision represented an attack on the civil right gains made in the 1960s. It also sparked a huge struggle led by Third World students against this decision. The decision was a statewide challenge that required a new level of organization. Rallying against the Bakke Decision, Asian American students recognized the need for a network capable of providing a broader perspective, mutual support, and the capacity for collective action. This led to the founding of the West Coast Asian Pacific Student Union (APSU), the Midwest Asian Pacific American Student Organization network, and ECASU, with regions in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

East Coast Asian Student Union[edit]

The 1980s was generally considered a period of conservatism with the Right on the move in attacking not only Affirmative Action, but also questioning: reproductive rights, language rights, freedom of speech, social services, environment, and "back to basics" in education. It is sometimes considered the "me" generation bombarded with "careerism" without any sense of social responsibility. Asian Americans were touted as the "successful," "model minority" in Newsweek and Time. All this came in the midst of wording economy and declining U.S. influences globally.

However, this decade has seen a plethora of changes, winding from the sudden surges in Asian American populations in colleges nationwide, to the scapegoating of Asians in the Clinton campaign scandal and the Lawrence Labs debacle. Even more recently, the Wen Ho Lee incident has shown that Asian Americans are not safe from racial profiling and stereotyping. In the past eight years, Asian populations in juvenile systems have doubled in parts of the country, and by all accounts the fissure between the haves and the have-nots within our very own community has widened too far.[citation needed] APA’s have also seen a resurgence of Asian American activism, from the gradual strengthening of collegiate groups to the bold organizing of the 80-20 Initiative. With eyes on these trends, ECASU looks to strengthen the East Coast Asian student community, and to bring us to new heights of awareness, activism, and pride in the APA community.

2007: ECAASU National Board Revival[edit]

Following the Yale ECAASU Conference, the National Board experienced a period of revival as well. The National Board itself grew from 2 people to 12 people, occupying 10 board positions. In addition, ECAASU began to apply for non-profit status. New boards were also created, including the Board of Directors (aka Directorate) and the ECAASU Representatives Council [2] (which includes about 60 people from 40 schools in 2008). The National Board has also taken steps to create ECAASU events outside of the yearly conference [3], including regional fall mixers. Last, the National Board has revived the ECAASU journal, which used to be called Asian American Spirit, now titled Envision [4]. Last, ECAASU started the Affiliate Schools Project, an online database of profiles of ECAASU member schools [5].

ECAASU Board of Directors[edit]

Allen Pan (Yale '08)
Andrew Lee (Cornell '08)
Calvin Sun (Columbia '08)
Michelle Horikawa (George Washington University '09)

National Board Members[edit]

Executive Director - Jim Chan
Executive Associate Director - Kathryn Quintin
Director of Advocacy - Priya Pandey
Advocacy Coordinator - Jillian Hammer
Policy & Research Analyst - Kim Hoang
Policy & Research Analyst - Sequioa Roscoe
Director of Communications - Evelyn Yeung
Social Media Coordinator - Darrell Hosford
Public Relations Manager - Nisha Pradhan
Director of Outreach - Maria Pitt
Affiliate Organization Coordinator - Tony Tran
Bid Coordinator - Al-Rasha Issa Ali
Campus Coordinator - Alvyn Dimaculangan
Campus Tour Coordinator - Jaclyn Chen
Mid-Atlantic Coordinator - Melody Lam
Director of Development - Stephanie Tang
Grants Manager - Kimberly Hall
Fundraising Coordinator - Thanh Tran

Past National Board Chair[edit]

Past National Board Chair
Academic Year Name(s) Alma Mater
2015-2016 Jim Chan Harvard University
2014 Ivan Yeung SUNY Binghamton University
2011-2014 June Kao New York University
Summer 2011-Fall 2011 Derek Mong Duke University
2009-2011 Tiffany Su Yale University
2007-2009 Nancy Liang Yale University

Past conferences[edit]

Intercollegiate Liaison Committee (ICLC)[edit]

East Coast Asian Student Union (ECASU)[edit]

East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU)[edit]



External links[edit]