Dive Into Your Interests: Creating Your Unique Wisconsin Experience

I heard about the Filipino American Student Organization (FASO) my freshman year.  I’ve been involved in cultural organizations since middle school and was hesitant to join another one. However, I said to myself, “Why not just check it out?”  When I went to the first meeting, I knew FASO was where I needed to be during my time here at UW.  While it was a small meeting with only 4 people, those people became some of the closest friends I’ve met on campus. By giving this organization a spur-of-the-moment chance, I gained long-lasting, genuine friendships.

FASO was the first student organization that I joined, so I dived right in. The current members made me feel welcomed and had no trouble getting me up to date with the organization. In that first semester, I felt that I already had a family away from home.  I never saw myself going to college out-of-state and having family and community is so important to me.

I was so passionate about the organization. During my sophomore year, I was elected as the Publicity and Events Coordinator.  It was my duty to set up events and publicize them to students and community members. This position gave me better communication skills since I was collaborating with multiple companies and organizations. Planning numerous events also helped me gain confidence in resolving sticky situations.

Then, my junior year, I was elected President of FASO. I had so many ideas for the organization to work together with other students to help make it grow even bigger. One of my main goals was to show the campus that FASO is present, that we are here at UW.  Since dance was another of my passions, I also wanted to share that with the organization.  Along with Noelle, the Vice President of FASO, we taught the traditional Filipino dances we learned growing up. For the first time in years, 10 members of FASO were able to perform Tinikling (the bamboo dance) at the MSC’s Multicultural Orientation and Reception (MCOR) in September 2011!  We took something we already knew and transformed it into something that could be shared with the university.  As president, I worked with 7 enthusiastic executive board members, and together, FASO had a very successful year. We planned ahead, created socials and educational workshops, and promoted the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ family.

To new and returning students, I urge you to find an organization and group that drives you, inspires you, and genuinely welcomes you. It will be an amazing learning experience (not to mention, it will look good on your resume). Most importantly however, getting involved in organizations and finding communities are the things that you need to do for your own mental sanity. School can get really tough at times and doing something outside of academics can be breath of a fresh air. Going to an event or meeting for an organization you’re passionate about gives you a break from school and you learn things that the classroom can’t teach you.  You will find that you’ll become so proud of your own responsibility, integrity and potential.  Plus, you’ll make some of your best friends just by diving into your interests.

To find different organizations and meet student leaders, come to the MCOR on Friday, September 7 in Union South and attend the Multicultural Student Organization Fair and Reception from 8:30pm-10:00pm on the third floor. FASO will be performing at the MCOR performances right before the fair.  

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