Spotlight on CLORGs: Asian American Student Union Brings Together APIDA Community at Scripps

By Lauren Mar ’25

Portrait of Scripps students and AASU members Emma Tao and Rebecca Yao

Thanks to student activism in the early 2000s, momentous progress was made in securing affinity spaces for students of color at The Claremont Colleges. As one of the first affinity CLORGs to receive an office space and a paid staff advisor at Scripps, the Asian American Student Union (AASU) is still going strong two decades later. 

Now entirely student run, AASU began as a political organization for APIDA (Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American) students at Scripps to collectively address concerns and issues they face on campus. AASU differs from the Asian American Sponsor Program (AASP), which is a mentorship program specifically for Scripps APIDA-identifying first years. While the two CLORGs coexist and collaborate frequently, AASU is inclusive of all class years and aims to build bonds between the general population of APIDA students at Scripps. 

“It’s helped create a sense of community among APIDA students,” says co-head Emma Tao ’23. “We bring together people who have had similar college experiences and will understand where each other is coming from because of this shared identity.” 

To encourage this, AASU hosts biweekly meetings in the Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) living room as well as a variety of programs. The meetings provide a consistent time and place for APIDA-identifying Scripps students to come together.

“No matter how involved you are, AASU is a safe and open space for APIDA students to offer support or just a place to hang out,” Tao says. 

One of AASU’s first events this semester was a zine-making workshop. Students were provided with both snacks and art supplies to make collages, draw, and paint. Like the zine-making workshop, AASU’s events are not always necessarily related to APIDA culture, but rather a way for APIDA students to bond with other members of the community. 

“The zine event allowed me to be creative and the club leaders and other participants made me feel very welcome.” says first-year Rebecca Yao ’26. 

According to Tao, AASU already has extensive ideas for future programming and community bonding. The CLORG hopes to host both less intensive events, such as movie screenings, and bigger events, like guest speaker-led workshops. AASU also intends to collaborate with the Asian American Sponsor Program (AASP) and affinity groups from the other Claremont Colleges to expand offerings to interested students. 

Yao says, “Through AASU, I’m looking forward to bonding more with the APIDA community at Scripps and hopefully at the 5Cs too.”