Jasmine Yu – President of the Asian Pacific American Coalition at Illinois State University

Illinois State University, Normal, IL

A good leader doesn’t lead for themselves, they lead to influence and inspire others.

Who are you?

I am a Taiwanese American that is fortunate, passionate, and a believer. I currently am ending my second year in college and am the oldest of 3 children from Naperville, IL. All through my life I have been dancing specializing in ballet then finally opening up to different types such as contemporary in high school. Dance is something that I am very passionate about. Currently I do not have time to partake in this activity because of time and scheduling but now I am a member of the Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University. I am a part four acts: Lyric Hoop, Tightwire, Triple Trapeze, and Bike for Ten. I started participating in this circus my freshman year when I was introduced to all of it during their open house and have been hooked ever since. I participate in the Asian Pacific American Coalition at Illinois State University and love what I’m doing for this organization. We are the umbrella organization for all Asian ethnicites and communities. I have also participated in Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF) for the past two summers. I have been heavily impacted by my experience there and by the people that are so open to willing to listen. I was fortunate enough to be a Youth camper my first year and experienced TAF love. My second summer I was a Juniors counselor and was so happy to interact with the kids and my fellow counselors in a different way. I love my Taiwanese culture, and learning about new cultures. I love my family, my friends, and everyone that is part of my Taiwanese heritage.

My passions have been in creative outlets and helping others. I wish to be a positive influence on others, especially with my future career as an educator. My goal is to become an ESL (English second language) instructor for Elementary school students. I want to be able to do this in Taiwan for at least a couple years and give back to my culture in that sense as I am learning more about it.

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

The Asian Pacific American Coalition has had a great impact on my life. This organization has a mission statement of promoting, educating, supporting, and providing Asian Pacific and Asian Pacific American culture (communities). As the umbrella organization on campus and part of the four Diversity Advocacy Organizations, it is the Asian organization that unites all ethnicities and interested students/faculty/community members.

One of the most memorable things about this organization that has affected my life is how friendly and open this organization is. Coming into college and meeting some of the most influential people in my life is something that I did not expect to achieve right away. Joining this organization, it has given me a chance to take part in the mission. I was a supportive general assembly member going to almost every event they held during my freshman year. I felt like I wanted to become more involved and step outside my comfort zone. So I applied to the public relations position, causing me to approach others that I did not know and networking resulting in friendships and gain of new club members. After a year of being a part of the executive board, I felt like I wanted to do more and that I could help continue the growth of APAC. So I applied and received the opportunity to be president of the organization for this upcoming year. I feel like not only my leadership but also with my executive board member’s leadership and values we can lead APAC to achieve its overall goals of making ourselves known on campus and promoting, educating, supporting, and providing Asian Pacific and Asian Pacific American culture for the ISU community.

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

I learned a lot over just these few years about leadership. Some is advice, some workshops, and a conference or two. There are a few keys things that keep me inspired and motivated as a leader. In order to be a good leader, you need to be a good follower. So with that mindset you need to lead by example. You also need to have an open-mind especially when suggestions are given that you might not initially agree with. You never know what you might learn and knowing that knowledge is power can help you succeed.

Growing from failure is also another aspect of leadership that can build and help you grow into a better leader.
There’s a quote that I learned from a conference I went to that I think really applies to being a good leader: “Leadership is about connecting with people, inspiring people to do their best.” A good leader doesn’t lead for themselves, they lead to influence and inspire others.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

As a 2nd generation Taiwanese, American born, I was only influenced by the amount of culture that my parents/family exposed me too. Luckily for me, my family is pretty involved with the Asian culture community always promoting and setting up performances that usually take place in May, APA heritage month, and during Taiwanese Heritage week.

I’m proud of the how far the Taiwanese community has come, with the U.S. census, the fight to become an independent country, and even the exposure of just people knowing of where Taiwan is on the map and that it is a different country than China.

I’m proud of the culture that Taiwan has built up and is starting to make known throughout the world. I’m proud of all the influential people that are Taiwanese making a difference, making an impact, and hoping that I can do the same.

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

Even more influential people, especially young people wanting to make an impact on the world stressing their Taiwanese culture wanting to share it with everyone else.

An even stronger Taiwanese community.

An even stronger Taiwanese Identity.

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