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Best Colleges for AAPI Students: Pitzer College

This month, to kick off the school year, we’re partnering with Angry Asian Man to bring you a very special list of The Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students. Last week and this week, we've profiling the top ten best schools for AAPI student activism (in no particular order). Today is the last day of this series, and last but not least is…

Pitzer College

Private College
Location: Claremont, California
Founded: 1963
Enrollment: 1,025
API population: 7%
Interesting fact: In an effort to inspire dialogue about diversity, there are two murals at Pitzer reminding the community about intolerance and hate crimes – one of Vincent Chin, which faces the mural of Chin’s mother – painted by students in the Claremont Colleges Consortium.

I truly believe in Pitzer's commitment to intercultural understanding and diversity. I chose to come to Pitzer because of these values and I have been nothing but impressed with how the college, already a leader in student activism, continues to grow and build on its foundations. I have had the privilege of working with several AAPI groups throughout the Claremont Colleges. – Nominator

Pitzer College is a place that strives to enrich and develop social, intellectual and personal growth among its students by providing a welcoming and supportive environment.  Students at there can take advantage of the resources offered at all five of the Claremont Colleges, including the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies (IDAAS).  They also benefit from the services and resources offered by the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS).

Pitzer students and CAPAS regularly work with other organizations that support the experiences of AAPI communities at the Claremont Colleges, empowering students to seek partnerships and build larger coalitions for community events.  On the Pitzer campus, the student leaders of CAPAS coordinate the Asian American Sponsor Program (AASP), which is a mentorship program matching older Pitzer students with first-year students to help the new students transition to college life.  AASP coordinates AAPI-themed events to educate and bring together all students.  New this year to Pitzer is the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC), which serves as an umbrella organization for AAPI student organizations, and addresses the greater needs of the community.

Aside from cultivating activism within Pitzer's campus and the greater Claremont Colleges Consortium, students often turns its eye to the AAPI community off campus. The previous Fall-semester, CAPAS hosted an event titled "Fil-I-Am: Filipino Americans in Hip Hop", with outreach to the surrounding Inland Empire and Los Angeles community, the event was successful in moving beyond the college-student audience and engaging a diverse group of people in a discussion of the recent emergence of Filipinos in American mainstream media. Fil-I-Am included a philanthropic cause where donations were collected and sent to needy families in the Philippines.

CAPAS, AASP, APAC, and the IDAAS all create an environment at Pitzer for students to create a strong AAPI community. The very presence of these groups on campus is a testament to the commitment of Pitzer's students into creating an environment that truly embraces the school's intercultural and interdisciplinary values.

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Seyron (not verified) on Fri, 09/25/2009 - 15:37

I respect the views of the author, and I'm glad these great schools were profiled.

But I can't help but notice the glaring absence of UC Berkeley. As a Cal alum, and as a student activist at Cal, I can't help but wonder why Berkeley didn't make the top 10? Universities like Dartmouth (which responded poorly to the racist comments aimed at their President) made the top 10, but the home of the Third World Liberation Front, where the first UC recruitment and retention centers for AAPI students were founded, where Chancellor Tien made his mark at Berkeley, where AAPI students worked with partners at UCLA to participate in the Count Me In Campaign last year, where LGBTQ API students held the 1st annual Queer and Asian conference (now on its 3 year) and the list goes on, someone didn't get the nod?

And what about San Francisco State University? Again, a leader in TWLF and a progressive and AAPI student body.

And Stanford, which annually hosts the Listen to the Silence Conference for AAPI students.

It just seems strange that the Bay Area was completey shut off in favor of Southern California and New England schools (with te notable exception of UI).

Just some thoughts...

USC Grad Student (not verified) on Sat, 09/26/2009 - 13:39

I agree with the person before me. I'm familiar with 3 of the schools on the list (UCLA, USC and Claremont-Pitzer), and they're legit, but I've also been exposed to Berkeley.

They are HANDS DOWN top 2 on that list with UCLA. In a league of their own.

In addition to the stuff mentioned before me, there was also:

1. the API Spoken Word Summit (a who is who for API spoken word artists)

2. The API recruitment and retention group REACH that holds API HS senior weekends to learn about API issues and resources on campus.

3. Southeast Asian Student Coalition (SASC) that brings together students whose history was affected by the war in southeast asia. They do a summer institute every year for HS students, empower them about their Southeast Asian identity, how to get into college, etc. Not only did they organize high school students, they also organized for college students with their Southeast Asian intercollegiate summit.

On top of that are the various APA ethnic group student orgs that do HELLA...I mean HELLA organizing. These orgs had a large role in helping put out 5000 plus at UC Berkeley for the walkout. They do on campus on stuff as well as off campus stuff in the Oakland and Richmond area like Mentoring HS students, holding anti-violence youth summits.

SF State needs some loving too. They still have a strong APA dept, strong students groups and is the birthplace of Asian American studies.

The Bay is getting no love.

spamfriedrice on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 19:21

unfortunately, schools that didn't send in application materials before the deadline were not reviewed in the process.  I actually did some personal outreach to people one on one to get them to send stuff in, well before the deadline.  i've even spoken to some folks after the deadline who said they wish they'd sent something in.

true... the bay is getting no love, but the truth is that the bay didn't send in any information for review... :(

spamfriedrice on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 19:27

thanks for the respect. as i mentioned in the reply to the other commenter below... the bay area colleges didn't submit applications.  so the judges didn't have the option of selecting any of them for recognition.

also... oberlin is in ohio (midwest) and penn is in the mid-atlantic region.  regardless, your point is valid. it's just too bad we didn't get any of the information you're sharing before the deadline in applicaiton form.

valerie Soe (not verified) on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 17:11

you wrote:

the bay area colleges didn't submit applications.

Not true, as far as San Francisco State University is concerned. I personally nominated SFSU as did Leanne K, who won your raffle. SFSU got an honorable mention so you must've gotten our recs. Just sayin'


spamfriedrice on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 10:50

thanks valerie. i stand corrected. unfortunately, only one bay area campus submitted an application, which was greatly appreciated, and of course... as seen in the wrap up note, was recognized with honorable mention. 

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