Andy Chou – Past President of UC Berkeley’s Taiwanese Student Association

UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

We hope that through our events students can become increasingly well connected socially and professionally with the Taiwanese American community…

Who are you?

I am a second generation Taiwanese American – a single child from Plano, Texas. I lived in Texas until I was 6 years old before I moved to Taipei, Taiwan for 6 years. While I was there I learned how to listen, speak, and write in Mandarin, skills which I still retain today. Since then I have been living in Southern California and I am currently a 3rd year at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Economics and minoring in Japanese. I plan to study abroad in Japan during fall 2011 and I hope to eventually become fluent in Japanese.

Tell us about your organization / project, your role, and its impact?

Currently, I am involved in UC Berkeley’s Taiwanese Student Association (TSA), East Asian Union, and ITASA West Coast Conference. I was the President (and now Senior Advisor) of TSA, which is a social student group on the UC Berkeley campus that promotes Taiwanese culture throughout campus and the surrounding communities and provides a platform for students to gather and enhance relationships.

During the past semester, TSA has extended beyond its usual reach by collaborating more with not only other Asian American groups on campus but also other Bay Area colleges’ Taiwanese American groups. We have also begun to organize academic events, such as Career Night, in which we invite many successful Taiwanese Americans to discuss with students and provide resources of future job opportunities. Our biggest event this semester was Karaoke Contest, which attracted more than 200 people. While allowing amazing singers compete to win the grand prize, the event also serves to promote Taiwanese pop music and pop culture to the audience, which was represented by a diverse group of Mandarin speaking students.

As President, I planned and lead the organization of over 13 events in a semester and provided our members the greatest amount of resources. We hope that through our events students can become increasingly well connected socially and professionally with the Taiwanese American community in the Bay Area. Most importantly, we wish that through our events and friendships, our members can feel like they are at home – Taiwan.

Where do you find your inspiration and motivation as a student leader?

As bad as stress may sound to you, I feel that giving myself an appropriate amount of stress really motivates me to roll out the best events. The sources of this stress may come from: a sense of urgency, all the risks in an event, and the mentality that you are responsible for any mistake and failure during the event. With that state of mind, I was pressed to make sure that all my officers get their work done and be responsible for their actions. Of course, you must have a passion for your student organization and its cause to enjoy your leadership experience.

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