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Vicki Lu, junior, plays the hulusi flute during the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) heritage month kick-off event, hosted by UGA’s Office of Multicultural Services and Programs, at Tate Plaza in Athens, Georgia on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. APIDA heritage month celebrates the accomplishments made by the diverse communities that embody the APIDA population. (Photo/Caitlin Jett)

Dozens of University of Georgia students flocked to Tate Student Center Plaza to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month. A line swirled around the Plaza as students waited for bubble tea and traditional Asian food, with live music playing in the background.

Amanda Si, a senior UGA student, was drawn to the event by the bubble tea, which reminds her of family and home as Si’s grandparents own a bubble tea shop in Cumming.

The event on March 20 was hosted by UGA’s Office of Multicultural Services and Programs to kick-off the celebration of APIDA Heritage month which is observed from March 15-April 15. This month is meant to be a time of learning and celebration of the APIDA culture.

“I actually did not know APIDA had a heritage month so I wanted to see what it was all about,” Diana Chico, MSP Hispanic Student Association member, said. “Now I am aware that this is celebrated and I am going to know what is going on all month so that I can learn more about the culture APIDA celebrates.”

The month of May is recognized as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, as it pays tribute to two specific events in AAPI history. The first of which is the immigration of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in May 1843 and the second is the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May 1869.

Multicultural Services and Programs collaborated with the Asian American Student Association, the Indian Cultural Exchange and other AAPI student organizations to establish APIDA Heritage Month in the effort to celebrate APIDA heritage during the UGA school year.

APIDA was handing out bubble tea and food to celebrate the kick-off to their heritage month. There was also live music played by Vicki Lu, a junior UGA student. Lu played the hulusi, a Chinese free reed wind instrument.

While some students got their tea and left, others stuck around to enjoy the lively energy of the event. Cami Scofield, a sophomore UGA student, said she loved the sweet sound of the hulusi and listened to the music as she had never heard a hulusi before.

Karan Joshi, a second-year UGA student, said that after attending the event he is interested in joining APIDA.

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