UI cultural center celebrates 10-year anniversary


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Students, alumni, and faculty gathered for brunch at the Asian Pacific American Culture Center on Sunday with their shoes off and a sense of relaxation. The weekend’s exciting events were finished, but planning for the future had just begun.

This particular University of Iowa cultural center was established in 2003, and it celebrated its 10-year anniversary this past weekend. The three-day celebration brought together a variety of people, who helped plan for the future of the center.

“Wed like to focus on more quality services that encourage students to interact with different groups and programs to create events in collaboration,” said Moo Kyong Jeon, the manager of the center.

The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and the UI Alumni Association cosponsored the events.

Throughout the past 10 years, the center has experienced new leaders and a growth of students.

Whit France-Kelly, an assistant director of Alumni Programs, said the Alumni Association wants to be a part of the continued growth at the center.

“The cultural center has done a fantastic job growing, and we want to be a part of the growth . . . we are looking forward for ways that the alumni could give back to the centers,” he said.

Jeon said that since he has been with the center, the number of students being served has doubled each year — 3,600 students have been served at the cultural center since its inception.

Numbers for yearly funding allocations were unavailable as of Sunday evening.

“We started supporting students to have their own programs to attract more people and let them know about Asian culture,” Jeon said.

Officials say small renovations here and there have prompted an increase in the number of students participating in the center’s activities.

“Since we’ve had more students, we have gotten a new carpet, a new TV, a new stove, and a new refrigerator,” Jeon said.

UI sophomore Diane Pham, the program coordinator for the center, said she wants to continue programs that attract a variety of students.

“I’m going to continue to work here and host more events that appeal to a larger crowd and also collaborate with other organizations,” she said.

Steven Mather, an officer for the UI United Nations, hopes to hold an event that not only involves the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center but other multicultural organizations.

“I would like to have a multicultural night with many organizations on campus to make food and get to know each other and the different cultures better,” Mather said.

Jeon encourages his students to create events that will invite more people to the center.

“The most effective tool is to spread our services is by word of mouth,” he said. “The more people that come, they will spread the services more.”

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