William Leu – President of Purdue University Asian American Association

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

In my attempts at being an effective, transformative, charismatic leader I look towards my mother and father and how they as immigrant business owners with limited English speaking ability are still able to garner the respect of their employees.


Who are you?

I am a second-generation Taiwanese American born and raised in Miami, Florida and somehow ended up at college in the heart of Indiana. I am the youngest of three siblings and the most stress-inducing son for Carl and Limin Leu.

I am a student at Purdue University and am majoring in Sociology and was one of the first students to complete the newly introduced Asian American Studies minor. I am also the outgoing-President for the Purdue University Asian American Association and prior to that position I was the Social co-chair of the club. I have also been involved in the lower rungs of Purdue Student Government.

I am a writer, and more than writing I love to perform my writing through spoken word. I have had the opportunity to perform for various cultural shows, talent/variety shows, poetry nights, and within the privacy of my friends and family.

I am a leader within the student community here at Purdue. I love the Asian-American/Asian student body here at Purdue, and I love this eclectic mix of cultures that we have all brought together to this campus. But there was a need to be able to better organize and present ourselves to the student body. It was one of my goals during my tenure to help bridge relations between our various Asian organizations in order to provide a stronger and more effective type of student organization, not just for our own community of students, but for the student body as a whole.

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

I am a mentor within my organization at school. I make it my goal to find, groom, and elevate young Asian Americans within Purdue to positions of leadership within our club.

The purpose of our organization was to originally act as a social club, during my tenure we tried our best to shift our focus from social aspects to more cultural aspects. Coming into Purdue our Asian American Association was weak, disorganized, and was more of a blight than a highlight of the Asian American community on campus. I along with a few dedicated individuals joined the organization for the sole purpose of reversing the clubs downward trend and to bring it to a level of prominence where students would be proud and anxious to join.

Every activity we host we always try to make sure it is in align with the core values that all the officer’s share, to promote community, to provide an opportunity to create friendships, and if possible promote some type of cultural awareness.

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

As a leader I look towards the graduate students or faculty that have had an influence in my life in helping me in finding my identity as an Asian-American along with encouraging my growth as a writer and leader.

In my attempts at being an effective, transformative, charismatic leader I look towards my mother and father and how they as immigrant business owners with limited English speaking ability are still able to garner the respect of their employees.

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

My hope is that the foundation that I along with my fellow senior officers have laid will be put to use by the next generation of AAA officers.

I hope that we have done enough to streamline the social event planning aspect of our organization that our new officers can then have more time to focus on more cultural events for our club.

I hope that one day the schism found between the Asian American orgs and Asian orgs at Purdue will be healed by the continued efforts of our officers.

I hope that a unified pan-Asian org front can spearhead the steps towards getting an Asian American/ Asian Cultural Center at Purdue.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I have only recently begun to explore my Taiwanese heritage as well as getting to know the Taiwanese-American community here in the Midwest. I have yet to really comprehend what it is about being Taiwanese that I should be proud of, but I do know that I am proud of one aspect of our heritage, and that is our penchant for community building.

That theme is especially prevalent with the Taiwanese American Foundation. Seeing what that organization has sought out to do and how they go about doing it, just makes me extremely proud knowing the dedication that we as Taiwanese Americans have towards our youth.

Ah yes and Jeremy Lin.

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

More dreamers, more athletes, more artists to supplement our presence in the math and sciences.

My son WILL be the first Taiwanese-American football player to be drafted into the NFL.

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