Tomorrow at 7 p.m., actor and comedian Ronny Chieng will be performing a comedy sketch at Tate Grand Hall.
Alexandria Perdue, a senior international affairs major at the University of Georgia, serves as director of the Union Speaks committee within University Union, which focuses on bringing cultural and social awareness to campus through speakers, events and simulations.
In the past, University Union has invited Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown from Netflix’s “Queer Eye” to speak, hosted a celebration during Hispanic Heritage Month where the group invited organizations to teach students basic salsa, bachata, samba, hip-hop and partnered with the Indian Cultural Exchange to celebrate Holi.
During the event, Chieng will perform a comedy set lasting an hour and a half, and will touch upon how his Asian identity affects his career in entertainment and media. In her three years in University Union, this is the first time Perdue has seen an Asian speaker at one of its events.
Perdue and the U-speaks committee try to find a group not typically represented on campus. The committee has invited speakers for Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month and believed it was time to invite someone for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage month. It’s next month, but the University Union doesn’t host events in May.
During the process of choosing a speaker for this event, the organizers looked at well-known comedians and actors. They settled on Chieng not only because of his success in “Crazy Rich Asians,” but also because of his work with “The Daily Show" and his diverse ethnicity, which is Chinese, Malaysian and Australian.
“While we're highlighting his Asian heritage, he has so many identities as well so we wanted to find that intersection between identities,” Tiffany Tsou, a junior finance and marketing major who serves as vice president of internal affairs, said.
According to Tsou, many students don’t realize the Asian community at UGA comprises 10% of the student population, according to UGA Office of Institutional Research’s 2018 Fact Book. Tsou believes University Union will host more Asian speakers in the future since U-speaks wants to target many audiences but also ensure more voices are heard.
“As Asian entertainment increases in the general world with a rise in music industry with Korean pop and in the movie industry with the new ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ success, I think Asian speakers, in general, will be increasing at a lot of universities and University Union will also want to go along with that,” Tsou said.
The event is open to anyone. University Union tries to advertise events so everyone feels like they can come.
“It's important for everyone on campus who can come to come because this is a reflection of our campus,” Perdue said.