Jeremy Chen – President of UIUC’s Taiwanese American Students Club

University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

I believe that sacrifice is a powerful device and is essential for a strong leader, in addition to sharing love. It takes a good leader to know when to give up their personal desires for a greater good.

Who are you?

I am a student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana studying Psychology and Chemistry. I am originally from Saint Louis, Missouri, and I have two unbelievably awesome parents and a loving older brother. I am a second generation Taiwanese American who hopes to become a dentist in order to help my community, especially those less fortunate.

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

This past year, I served as President for our school’s Taiwanese American Students Club (TASC). I was responsible for the overall leadership, direction, and cohesion of the board and general members. TASC’s mission is to provide a community for Taiwanese Americans, while sharing our experiences as individuals as well as our cultural heritage. My personal goal as President was to make TASC feel like a family. I utilized the social and leadership skills and bonding games/techniques I learned at Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF) to achieve the close-knit dynamic within TASC. I believe that this dynamic is essential for people or an organization to work well. By connecting on a personal and intimate level, we were able to hold successful events, promoting our Taiwanese heritage, while also forming long-lasting relationships.

TASC hosts a number of cultural and philanthropic events, such as Illinois Chinese Adopted Siblings Program (ICASP). Students volunteer as “”big siblings”” for children adopted from China so they can learn more about their culture and heritage. We provide a fun environment for the children and a community for the parents where we can share knowledge, questions, and advice on important issues in adoptive families. This is my favorite program because whether small or big, we make an impact on these children and provide a sense of heritage and identity that they might not have otherwise discovered.

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

I learned to become a leader at the summer camp, Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF). TAF is largely responsible for developing my character, personality, and sense of identity as a Taiwanese American. TAF taught me a number of important lessons and ideals that I try to uphold both as a person and as a student leader, such as servant leadership. I believe that sacrifice is a powerful device and is essential for a strong leader, in addition to sharing love. It takes a good leader to know when to give up their personal desires for a greater good. Without sacrifice and God, there can be no love.
Find your calling, follow your passions, and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am 2nd generation Taiwanese American. I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian community. I was the only Asian American in my elementary school, and one of very few in my high school. But through TAF and my youth group, I found a community of Taiwanese Americans who accepted me for who I really was. I am proud to be Taiwanese American because we are a community of extremely diverse personalities, professions, and passions, yet share a love and connection to a truly Beautiful Island.

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

I have high expectations and hopes for the future of Taiwanese America. Just within the past few years, we have grown stronger as a community and more importantly, as a voice. We must continue to network with one another and stay connected through great organizations such as TAF and TaiwaneseAmerican.org in order to unite and become a driving force within this country. We can prevail if and only if we remain united.

Any additional information you would like to share?

One of my passions is making music. I play the guitar (poorly) and sing (averagely) but I love combining songs to make MASHUPS (probably because I’m too ADD to finish a whole song). Here are some of my creations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbeFvVrOhv8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwSiqp0OpEM
http://blog.tafworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/viva-love-forever-2010.mp3

Although I’m no Dawen, I still enjoy making music and performing with my friends.

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