Suffolk University’s Asian American Association has returned to in-person events and meetings after a year of online classes. The club looks to host various campus events while cultivating a community for students.
On-campus events and face-to-face introductions are the new normal for the Suffolk University club after COVID-19 sent students home in March of 2020.
According to AAA club president Cassandra Kuechler, it was hard to find ways to reach out to students online. The organization was known for holding successful campus activities and events — something AAA suddenly had to do online while finding new ways to keep students interested. Some of these new virtual gatherings included conversations, designated care packages and gaming events.
Conversations included “Actions Speak Louder: Combating Anti-Asian Hate Together” and “Moving Beyond Social Media Solidarity, ” which heavily revolved around anti-Aisan hate. Care packages included masks and assorted goodies, while games consisted of attaining Pokemon plush pals and Among Us via Zoom.
“We were trying to make the best out of the situation,” said AAA Vice President Matt Deng. “We understood how difficult zoom fatigue was.”
Kuechler, a junior, joined the club her freshman year. She found that although the club might not have reached as many people as they had liked during the first year of the pandemic, they were still able to do well in an unsafe time.
“We accomplished what we thought we could during COVID-19,” said Kuechler. “We were as successful as we could be and I’m happy we got the engagement we did.”
Returning to campus after more than a year of Zoom has brought a new sense of joy and excitement to AAA. This especially applies to sophomores who are experiencing Suffolk in person for the first time, despite already attending a year of classes.
Dre Chan, a sophomore and representative for AAA, is now on campus for the first time in person. Going from talking with professors and students behind a computer screen to interacting and mingling with peers on campus, Chan considers the transition to be great.
“We’re now hosting fun in-person events and we’re actually getting to interact with each other,” said Chan. “There’s such an authentic feeling to it and I’m having a blast so far.”
This semester, AAA has hosted a variety of in-person events, including their bi-weekly meetings, an AMC movie night and a Halloween costume party. According to the club, there has been a significant change in student turnout with a mailing list that continues to grow longer.
While the club is trying to find events that will attract new members, AAA also actively follows the COVID-19 protocols the university currently holds in place.
“We want to keep tradition and give love to those before us but we also want to create events that fit the atmosphere and follow guidelines because that’s something I’m very strict about,” said Kuechler.
AAA meets bi-weekly, with their next meeting on Nov. 23 during activities period in Samia room 214. The organization purposely holds meetings twice a month so students are able to enjoy and explore other campus clubs that are being offered.
Anyone who is looking to join or learn more about the club can attend any of the general meetings or reach out to AAA directly @aaa.suffolk on Instagram.