The Pan Asian American Community House (PAACH) is celebrating 10 years of serving as a cultural resource center at Penn.
At PAACH’s home in the Arch Building, 3601 Locust Walk, students can participate in programs addressing culture, student leadership and peer mentoring.
“You can walk in and feel totally comfortable and not have to hide who you are or what your interests are,” says Rohan Grover, a Wharton senior. Grover says PAACH has helped him become more self-aware and more involved in activities within the wider campus community.
PAACH offers advising, support and programs for students interested in issues regarding the South Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian American communities.
“PAACH is whatever you make it to be,” says senior Bonny Tsang. “It can be a place where you do your homework, a place where you watch television, hang out, talk with your friends.”
On Oct. 29 and 30, PACCH kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration with a gala and reunion of alumni who helped form the center in 2000. Former students joined current and former staff members to reconnect and reminisce. Penn Masala, the Hindi a capella group performed, and Kusum Soin, the center’s office coordinator who’s been with PAACH from the beginning, was honored in a special ceremony.
June Chu, who’s been PAACH’s director for six years, says: “In this time, this critical period during college, really, it’s about identity search. And if students choose to search for identity in terms of their ethnicity, a safe space is very critical in helping them understand the challenges that they face and the similarities they share with other Asian Americans who are on campus.”
Senior Justin Ching participates in events at all of the centers. “As people, we find that we are more similar that we are different,” he says. “Being able to look at each other and share that experience with them, where you have an appreciation for each other’s culture, I think is very important.”
Originally published on November 9, 2010