CU Denver's Asian Students Association (ASA) hosted a Lunar New Year Celebration in February.

CU Denver Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

April 2, 2024

Each year, during the month of May, the United States celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to recognize the heritage, history, accomplishments, future achievements, and individuals in these vibrant communities.   

At CU Denver, our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community consists of students, faculty, and staff from various backgrounds, including Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Asian Indian, Hmong, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai, and Laotian. Our tradition is to observe Asian Pacific Heritage Month in April and May to ensure that we can celebrate with students during the spring semester before many leave for a summer break. CU Denver’s Center for Identity & Inclusion (CII) partners with MSU’s Denver Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion (CMEI), as well as campus and community partners to celebrate the diversity of the AAPI community.  

The celebration has additional meaning now, because last year, CU Denver became the first university in Colorado—and the six-state Rocky Mountain region—to earn the designation of being an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). This was a years-long effort led by Lynx community members.

We celebrate and honor their efforts as we mark the first year of this distinguished designation, which helps support the university’s goal to be an equity-serving institution. An AANAPISI team, which includes students, faculty, and staff, has been assembled to create and expand initiatives to support our students on campus. They are already collaborating with partners, including the Asian Student Association, for its annual Lunar New Year Celebration.  

We invite the community to participate in the following events.  

AAPI Heritage Month Kick Off 

CU Denver’s CII and MSU’s CMEI proudly invites you to our AAPI Heritage Month kick-off event, a vibrant celebration of the rich culture and community of AAPI heritage. Immerse yourself in a day filled with music, diverse external vendors, and delectable cuisine as we honor the tapestry of traditions that define the AAPI experience. This event isn’t just about celebration; it’s also about empowerment. Discover valuable community resources tailored for Auraria students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. From academic support to cultural enrichment, these resources are designed to uplift and unite our diverse community. All are welcome to join us throughout the day to pay homage to the beauty and diversity of the 48 countries that comprise Asia. Whether you can stay for the entire event or just drop by, your presence will help us create a vibrant tapestry of unity and celebration. Let’s come together to honor, learn, and celebrate the rich tapestry of AAPI culture.

When: Wednesday, April 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  
Where: Tivoli Student Union, Multicultural Lounge, Room 257

Breaking Through Modern Asian American Gender Roles  

What modern cultural and social pressures affect what it means to be an Asian American man, woman, or gender-nonconforming individual? Societal stereotypes assume Asian Americans act a certain way, and cultural factors push certain roles and expectation onto us. With all these outside influences, what are ways that you can reclaim your own identity. This event is presented by Joie Ha and Ben Nguyen, consultants from CORE: Community Organizing for Radical Empathy. 

When: Thursday, April 4, 2 to 3:30 p.m.  
Where: Student Commons, Room 1401  

Visiting Artist Series: Gamelan Tunas Mekar 

Gamelan Tunas Mekar is a Denver-based community ensemble under the direction of Balinese composer and artist-in-residence I Made Lasmawan and family. The group presents traditional and new music for Balinese gamelan at music festivals, schools, private events, local venues, specially produced concerts, and by special invitation both internationally and nationally. Modeled after typical village groups found throughout Bali, and learning by traditional methods, this community ensemble provides American audiences the rare opportunity to experience one of the world’s most fascinating cultures. To purchase tickets for the event, click here.  

When: Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m. 
Where: King Center Concert Hall 

Let the Good Times Roll: Kimbap Making  

Join us for a culinary experience as we delve into the art of making kimbap, a beloved Korean dish that beautifully marries flavors, textures, and colors. During this interactive demonstration, you’ll learn the secrets of crafting perfect kimbap rolls from start to finish and the cultural significance of the roll. Space is limited, so please register in advance by clicking here.  

When: Wednesday, April 10, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.  
Where: Tivoli Student Union, Room 440/550 

AAPI Student, Faculty, and Staff Social  

We extend a warm invitation to individuals of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American heritage to come together and join us in fostering a vibrant sense of community. We welcome you to share in our collective experiences, traditions, and stories as we celebrate the richness and diversity of our cultural backgrounds. Delectable food and refreshing beverages will be provided. Whether you’re reconnecting with familiar faces or meeting new acquaintances, our space is open and inclusive to all who wish to join in this enriching exchange of culture and camaraderie. Let us come together to create memories, deepen our understanding, and build a stronger, more united community. 

When: Wednesday, April 10, 3:30 to 5 p.m.  
Where: Tivoli Student Union, Room 440/550 

AAPI Representation in Music and the Arts  

This panel seeks to elevate AAPI artists, who will discuss their careers, perspectives, and experiences as living artists, address barriers within the arts for AAPI artists, discuss how to take action towards change, and participate in an interactive Q&A with the audience.

When: Wednesday, April 10, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.  
Where: Emmanuel Art Gallery  

Korea Goes Global: Exploring the Korean Wave, from Samsung to K-Pop  

Catch the Korean Wave. In the 21st century, the South Korean government, along with Korean corporations and artists, have focused on the strategic creation and global export of popular culture, a.k.a. The Korean Wave (Hallyu). Political scientist Dr. Tony Robinson, an associate professor at CU Denver, explains the concepts of “soft power” and “creative economy” in regard to the Korean Wave project and how the city of Seoul is defining a global era.  

When: Tuesday, April 23, noon to 1 p.m.  
Where: Tivoli Student Union, Multicultural Lounge  

Transforming Intergenerational Trauma for Community Healing  

Intergenerational trauma affects many AAPI communities and individuals regarding their mental health, relationships, and wellbeing. In this panel, members of the Wellness Emotional Alignment and Intergenerational Healing (WEALTH) research team will share their personal and professional experiences in healing intergenerational trauma within the Vietnamese American community. The conversation will also broadly reflect on ways to address and transform historical patterns of trauma within different Asian Pacific Islander communities. We will highlight the importance of also remembering intergenerational resilience on individual and community levels. Panelists: My Ngoc To, Kimmy Van, and Kenneth Huyn. Facilitator: Dr. Andrew Sia 

When: Tuesday, April 30, noon to 1 p.m.  
Where: Student Commons, Room 1401