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2011 Annual Report

You’re part of something big. Something that’s only getting bigger.

In this 2011 Annual Report, we’d like to remind our members that being a part of AAAYA means being a part of something big: something bigger than the events that you attend in your local chapter, or even the sum total of the hundreds of alumni who attended over 30 events in 6 cities in 2011.

You’re a part of a movement that’s been decades in the making. Asian American alumni first showed up in significant numbers on Yale’s campus in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that there were enough alumni to convene an informal alumni group on the West Coast. In 2006, after an aborted attempt to convene an Asian American reunion on Yale’s campus, alumni in New York and San Francisco decided to formally organize AAAYA and build a grassroots organization – through local chapters in major metro areas.

The idea was to start local, start small, and then build up to something big: a national alumni organization that would bring Asian and Asian American alumni together to accomplish all sorts of things that we wouldn’t be able to do on our own: strengthen our personal and professional networks, provide mentorship and guidance to students on campus, and support Asian American causes through our local Asian American community organizations.

In Annual Reports from past years (2008, 2009, and 2010), we’ve talked a lot about building our membership base, growing our local chapters, and building a truly national organization. This year, five years after we started this effort, that message remains: we’re still growing, and we’re still building. But now that we stand at this five year mark, we can safely say that yes, we have built something big.

Can it become even bigger? Absolutely, and at the end of this report, we’ll talk about how you can help continue our growth. But for now, let’s recap a year’s worth of exciting activities, reflect on the decades of work that’s made all of this possible, and recognize how it’s all much larger than the sum of our parts.

Strengthening Alumni Ties

In 2011, AAAYA held over 20 events to build and strengthen our alumni network. As has become tradition, we rang in the Lunar New Year in style. Northern California alumni gathered for dim sum and lion dancing prior to San Francisco’s Lunar New Year Parade (the largest in the western hemisphere!).

New York alumni gathered for its annual Lunar New Year banquet, which has raised funds for community service summer fellowships since 2009. This year’s honorees were Kunduck Moon ’76, Ming Cho Lee, and Alice Young ’71. Maya Lin ‘81 also made a special guest appearance!

(Video by Jackson Loo, ’02)

During two reunion weekends in June, the Asian American Cultural Center opened its doors to host returning alumni and their guests. Just as the AACC was a home away from home for many AAAYA members during their time on campus, it continues to be a place for us to gather and reflect on our shared experiences. Thanks to Saveena Dhall, AACC Director, for hosting us again. If your reunion year is coming up in 2012, be sure to make this reception a part of your plans that weekend.

During the rest of the summer and fall, local chapters in five cities organized amazingly diverse and exciting programs for alumni. Culture, food, education, and even sports: no area was left uncovered!

Northern California offered dragon boat racing lessons, Asian food truck tasting, its annual summer picnic, an entrepreneurs and investors mixer, and an interactive Bollywood movie screening and dance party.

Chicago organized a combination Chinese food lunch and wine tasting and a trip to see Kosuke Kimura, the first and only Japanese player in Major League Soccer, at a Chicago Fire Major League Soccer game.