Weaving Cultural Threads: Lylli Duong (left), Marrian Angeles (center), and Navneet Singh (right) cut through barriers at the grand re-opening, symbolizing unity and inclusion.

The Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American Center at California State University, San Bernardino, celebrated a grand re-opening on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, marking a significant step towards greater inclusivity on campus. The ceremony, held at the Santos Manuel Student Union North in Room 3310, featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony, speeches, and activities to commemorate the event. The grand re-opening aims to make the center more inclusive to the student population, expanding its scope beyond Asian and Pacific Islander communities to embrace Desi Americans. The event kicked off at noon and continued until 2 PM, creating an atmosphere of celebration and unity.

A vibrant ribbon-cutting ceremony, surrounded by gold, white, and black balloons, marked the beginning of the festivities. The podium, adorned with the center’s mission statement, echoed the commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for the diverse cultures under the APIDA umbrella.

Navneet Singh, speaking on the importance of the event, highlighted the evolution of the center, emphasizing the significance of including Desi Americans in its name. Following Singh, Lylli Duong shared her journey, noting the center’s growth over the years and its flourishing diversity.

Marrian Angeles, reflecting on the ribbon-cutting ceremony, expressed personal growth, emphasizing the positive impact of the center’s inclusive approach. The increased focus on Desi-American students was acknowledged as a milestone in fostering a sense of community. In addition to speeches, the center’s celebrations included a range of activities. Students enjoyed snacks, created buttons with themes of the APIDA center, and participated in sticker-making sessions. The interactive events aimed to engage the student community and promote awareness of the center’s mission.

The APIDA center’s lead student assistant, Lylli Duong, revealed upcoming events, including a Chinese New Year lantern-making session on February 7 from 12-2 PM. Another event, “Original Filipino Music,” hosted by Marrian Angeles, will follow, emphasizing the center’s commitment to cultural celebrations.
In an interview with key staff members, the importance of the center’s renaming was discussed. David Nguyen, the assistant director of APIDA, emphasized the significance of the event in making Desi Americans feel included and providing a space for cultural diversity.

Navneet Singh, the coordinator for APIDA, underscored the need for increased awareness and the center’s role in attracting graduate students. Singh highlighted upcoming events, including celebrations for Chinese New Year, Holi, Warrior Spirit, and APIDA Heritage Month. Marrian Angeles, the student assistant for APIDA, highlighted the renaming’s purpose of inclusivity, particularly for the Desi-American community. Angeles expressed hope for broader campus community involvement in celebrating the center’s new identity.

With the re-opening, the Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American Center aims to be a hub for diversity, fostering a strong sense of community, providing opportunities for student leadership, and promoting cultural competencies at CSUSB. The center’s commitment to inclusivity and understanding reflects a broader initiative to build ties with various student groups on campus. As the APIDA center embraces a new chapter, the hope is that its redefined identity will not only serve as a haven for cultural appreciation but also as a catalyst for building stronger ties within the entire student population at CSUSB. Through the lens of diversity and understanding, the APIDA center sets out to shape a more inclusive and culturally enriched campus experience.

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