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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Get Interested: an Asian diaspora

<itor’s note: Get Interested is a weekly feature on different interest houses.

Interest houses form an integral part of the community for people to gather and share a passion or cause or just get together over conversation on themes of interest.

Asia House is one such interest house, where students involved in aspects of Asian culture get to live in Hunt cottage and host cultural events open to the community at large.

Meg Kanazawa, a sophomore from Japan who lives at Asia house, says, “It’s a great premise because sometimes I walk in to find people having an intense conversation on Buddhism or cooking delicious food, and it’s such a good environment to live in.”

The draw for many is the fact that it the house is close to central parts of campus. Because these houses work on students’ interests, they do not require draw numbers. Rather, students go through interviews and are placed into houses based on their involvement with the themes they promote.

“I see a lot more people from Asian clubs and part of my decision to live here was guided by the chance to meet them and learn about their clubs’ activities,” Kanazawa said.

“I think the community will benefit from South-Asian diversity, and I’ve hosted dinner parties and invited people over for biryani at Eid. I agree with Meg that learning about other cultures has been a rewarding part of this experience and it’s the reason I’m here- to promote my own,” S.S. Rishad ‘12, a South-Asian resident at Asia House said.

Asia House is a forum for many Asian culture clubs on campus. Club leaders reach out to Prakriti Thapa ‘10, the house’s student manager, and schedule events or festivals using funds allocated to Asia house activities for the year.

“Asia house is active because of the huge Asian population at Carleton, who choose to combine- Tibetan, Hmong, Chinese, Japanese and Malay etc. make this house such a success,” Mailee Moua ‘10 from St. Paul said. “Having a common ground is great because everyone is welcome here. So far I’ve seen them mixing well.”

This term, Asia house sponsored include a bubble tea party and a spring roll extravaganza hosted by the Hmong coalition of students at Carleton.

“What Sayles does for the rest of campus, Asia house does for students from and those interested in Asian cultures,” Rishad said.

The diversity of spirit and cuisine is a specifically rewarding aspect of this interest house, with all six house mates agreeing, “Coming home to foods from Nepal, Malaysia and Japan is a whole new feeling altogether.”

Robert Wakeley ‘12, the only non-Asian resident at this multi-cultural house, is enjoying the educative aspects of living in Hunt cottage. “It’s a good opportunity to learn more on Asian cultures and get involved in different organizations like the Burmese clubs that I wasn’t involved in last year but now have more access to,” he said.

Ava Navasero ’12 of Singapore added that the value in interest houses also stems from the fact that residing in one allows attendance to events that may not have previously made her schedule. Through these events, Navasero and others have expanded their own horizons while helping others expand theirs, too.

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