Annie Tung – All-around APA Student Leader

U Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

I basically left my heart in the rural countryside of Central Taiwan where my great-grandmother acquired her sun-kissed wrinkles and her proud gray hairs.

Who are you?

I am Annie Tung: an only child who is self-guided; a seasonal vagabond without means; an autodidact in liberal arts; a hypocrite of social media; a believer in retail therapy; a fanatic of British accents; and occasionally, a womyn who strives. I was born in Taichung, Taiwan but consider myself a Southern California native. Some of my life goals include: hiking up Half Dome, discovering the world’s best gelato flavors, and learning how to speak fluent Taiwanese.

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

On campus, I am affiliated with the Asian American Association, the Asian Pacific American Coalition, the Asian Pacific Islander Issues Conference, the International Justice Mission, and the ITASA West Coast Conference for 2011. While my primary focus for the present year is the latter three, I continue to serve in various capacities for these student organizations. Specifically, my roles are Finance Chair, Outreach Director, and Housing & Registration Chair, but I see myself more simply as a student leader working within and between groups and individuals in the APA community. In broad terms, the organizations I am involved with all aim to engage community members on their own identity development and raise awareness for community causes–but they pursue these ideas in different ways and thereby diffuse distinct impact. In a nutshell, I am able to reach out to APA students on campus and across the Bay Area just by being a proactive student!

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

Essentially, I am motivated to blaze my own trail and benefit society in a qualitative way. I enjoy intellectual discussions that engender a sense of obligation within me to help the world become a better place, and I frequently dialogue with those who are in the process of becoming the next movers and shakers of this planet. I am not afraid to take risks, ask challenging questions, and be honest with the people around me. More importantly, I am inspired to lead because I stand on the shoulders of pioneers who have sought after the well-being I take comfort in today. While I am optimistic about the future, I am also fairly pragmatic about the present – yet there is never any waking moment when I feel indifferent.

What is your vision for the organization / project and the role that it may play in the broader community?

My vision is fundamentally based on creating communities and building coalitions that are healthy, dynamic, and open to new ideas. I also strive to construct safe spaces where people can expressively learn from similar and dissimilar peers from different backgrounds and walks of life. Naturally, an extension of this notion is the development of proactive, community-oriented leaders who understand how to effectively listen, empower, and guide those around them. Society at large lacks these progressive personalities, but they are slowly entering the broader community one individual at a time.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I identify as 1st generation Taiwanese American, although I immigrated before I was one years old. I basically left my heart in the rural countryside of Central Taiwan where my great-grandmother acquired her sun-kissed wrinkles and her proud gray hairs. I feel proud to say I am her kin because I have internalized many of her struggles and triumphs as my own. Above all, I believe that it is important to preserve both historic and personal meaning of my family’s story, which is deeply immersed in Taiwanese heritage.

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

The future of Taiwanese America will uphold the Taiwanese spirit, the very essence that makes Taiwan special, which is more than just people, food, and places. It is a vivid experience, and a timeless energy that emanates from passionate hearts, which desire to see the world become a better place. I sincerely believe that it is this enthusiasm that will attract people to the little island with big values and a meaningful voice.

Any additional information you would like to share?

If you’re on the West Coast, come check out ITASA at Cal in spring 2011! You can find more information at http://itasa.org.

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