Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
As a student leader, you have to be able to inspire and to motivate. You have to be able to get people excited on what you’re working on and what you want to achieve as a whole.
I am a junior at Rutgers University, located in New Jersey. Throughout high school and my time at Rutgers so far, I’ve been involved in a number of activities, ranging from fine arts to cultural awareness. At Rutgers University, I’m on the executive board of the Rutgers Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA). I was public relations chair and co-director of Nightmarket during my sophomore year at Rutgers. This 2010-‘11 school year, I am the co-vice president. Summer 2009, I attended the Pacific Asia Student Seminar at National Taiwan University as a group leader to discuss economics, politics, civil rights, history, culture, and human rights with 40 other participants from all over Asia. Summer 2010 in Washington DC, I was a meeting coordinator for the Formosa Foundation’s Ambassador Program, which is a US based nonprofit organization that advocates for the democracy, human rights, and the strengthening of US-Taiwan relations. So far, all of these experiences have made a huge impact on who I am right now. I have a genuine interest in US foreign policy towards Taiwan, and Taiwan in general. I enjoy eating, karaoke, and going on adventures.
Tell us about your organization / project, your role, and its impact?
My own personal goal is to strengthen the Taiwanese American community and to impact individuals. In order to achieve my goal, I try to be as involved as possible in not only the Taiwanese American community, but also in the Taiwanese community. I would like to create awareness. Even if I have exposed a bit of Taiwan to just one person, I believe that it does make a difference. So why not expose it to more than just one person?
Where do you find your inspiration and motivation as a student leader?
There are many factors fueling my inspiration for what I do. First and foremost, my parents have always been supportive – encouraging my siblings and me to go out, to explore and to learn. Because of their continuous support, I’ve been thankful and lucky to have gone on many adventures in Taiwan and saw with my own eyes what Taiwan has to offer. Slowly but surely, my interest in Taiwan grew from interest, to love, to a passion, to something that I will forever fight for.
Keeping the previous leaders and all the hard work that they’ve put into what I’m working on now in mind motivates me. When I was a freshman and was just elected to be the public relations chair for my sophomore year, the newly elected TASA president told me, “Listen. To be a leader, you don’t tell people to build a boat. Tell them to get the nails, wood and cloth for the sail… and you don’t tell them where to put what or how to build the boat. Instead, a great leader tells his/her people about the wonders of the ocean to inspire them to build a boat.”
As a student leader, you have to be able to inspire and to motivate. You have to be able to get people excited on what you’re working on and what you want to achieve as a whole. At the same time, as a leader, you have to show your passion and make it something fun, or else the people will get bored.
Last but not least, my own desire for what I am personally trying to achieve keeps me inspired and motivated.
What is your vision for the organization / project and the role that it may play in the broader community?
I spent a semester abroad in Seoul, South Korea. While I was there, I met someone from Taiwan. After becoming friends on Facebook, we noticed that I was friends with two of her high school classmates in Taiwan – one I met in Taiwan while I was attending the Pacific Asia Student Seminar, and the other one I met while I was in Washington DC for the Formosa Foundation’s Ambassador Program. This instance made me realize how small Taiwan’s community is. With that anecdote in mind, my vision is to slowly make the Taiwanese community more tightly knit. If we continue to work together and make connections within our Taiwanese American and Taiwanese community, we can really make a huge difference on a global level.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
Throughout history to current day, there have been many individuals of Taiwanese heritage that have done and achieved great things but have not received the proper acknowledgment. We’ve gone through many ups and downs, and in the end, we always pull through. We, Taiwanese, have so much to be proud of. Taiwan is an island with beautiful scenery, the best food, deep history, the friendliest people and so much more. I am a 2nd generation Taiwanese American. I am who I am, and I love it.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
In the future, I hope there is a stronger Taiwanese American identity, and a closer Taiwanese American community.
Any additional information you would like to share?
I helped design the mascot of Rutgers University’s Taiwanese American Student Association – the TASA Tofu. Check it out, it’s really cute. While you’re at it, visit http://www.rutgerstasa.org
It is TREMENDOUSLY appreciated that there is someone out there still fighting for the cause of Taiwan independence – against incredible odds. As a fellow Taiwanese-American, I salute you. You are doing work like Gandhi did – with much less attention, but for an equally worthy cause. Keep it up!