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Christy Ko on Asian Student Union, Navigating a Virtual Senior Year

Christy Ko is a current senior at Oakland Tech. She serves as the co-president of Oakland Tech’s Asian Student Union (ASU), and is also the co-president of our Interact Club and a member of Key Club. 

Hey Christy! Starting off, introduce yourself! What is your name, your grade, and your favorite class at Tech?

My name is Christy Ko, and I’m a senior at Oakland Tech. My favorite class would probably be senior capstone because I like computer science — I am in the Computer Academy and I plan to major in computer science. I’m also the co-president of Interact Club and the Asian Student Union; I’m also part of other clubs like Key Club and the Vietnamese Student Association. 

For those who don’t know, what is ASU, and what do you do at Oakland Tech?

ASU is a club that strives to teach and inform others about Asian culture. We invite anyone (you don’t have to be Asian to join). We focus on accepting and welcoming others, teaching others about Asian culture, and combating the stereotypes about Asian students. Usually, in our meetings and our assembly, we strive to break cultural barriers at Tech: sometimes we’ll hold food events where we’ll make meals like Spam Musubi or spring rolls, organize cultural events like making origami, or have presentations with other students. Now that we’re online, we don’t have food events anymore, but since we’re going virtual a lot of our meetings will include a cultural presentation. We recently did presentations on Japan, Mongolia, and China, which inform our members about the different cultures in Asia. We plan on doing activities like making Chinese Lanterns in honor of the Lunar New Year, and plenty of other activities.

How did you get involved in ASU and other clubs at tech?

A major part of my involvement was my friends. As a freshman, we all had a moment where we felt lost, especially me — I came from a small charter school so I didn’t know a lot of people when coming here. The small group of friends I began to make as I came to Tech joined clubs and connected me to them. I got involved in ASU through an unity assembly comprised of a presentation from each of our cultural clubs. ASU resonated with me, so I decided to join that club. I also had a major interest in community service, so Interact and Key Club were major interests of mine. The Vietnamese Student Association also interested me because Tech is a very diverse school, and I sought for Asian representation to be included at my school.

Adding on to that, what do you think about how clubs and student unions work together? How do you think students can get involved in clubs right now?

I think that Advisory announcements and social media play a large role in connecting [students to clubs]. All of the clubs that I’m in have social media pages and work with @othsconnections [on Instagram], which is very helpful. Sometimes, it is very hard to get connected with everyone — obviously, not everyone will pay attention to Advisory announcements, but I think with social media and people sharing information, our pages are very helpful. I also know that last year all of the cultural clubs banded together and held a week where members of cultural clubs could attend one anothers’ meetings. ASU holds meetings on Tuesday, so that week cultural club members like BSU students could attend our meetings and we could attend their meetings. It was a very nice way for us to learn more about their club. I’d like for something like a Cultural Club week or month to become a thing, and our members could collaborate and build a stronger cultural community at Tech.

What would you tell Oakland students to convince them to join ASU?

I think that the many opportunities our club brings would interest Oakland students, such as the programs I listed before. It’s obviously a lot harder to hold fundraisers during COVID, but we would have held stickers and food fundraisers to promote our club. I think that the community itself is also very interesting to have because we welcome everyone and everyone is very friendly with each other. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we don’t judge at all; we want to make sure everyone is welcome and can learn more about Asian culture. During COVID, there has been a lot of anti-Asian hate and sentiments against the Asian community, and I think if people learned more about us, they would see that a lot of those statements are false.

Outside of ASU, what do you like about Oakland Tech? What do you think are some special attributes about our school that you value?

I value the diversity and the community overall at Oakland Tech. The majority of teachers care about their students — some teachers don’t care as much, but I think the majority of teachers do value their students. Students are close with each other, so despite COVID happening, clubs are still running and everyone is still trying their hardest to cope with what’s going on in this pandemic. Having the unity and the community bond that is very strong is very important for a students’ academic and personal needs.

Now that you’re a senior and moving on from our school, what will you take away from ASU and tech as a whole?

To put it shortly: ‘life goes on.’ That’s kind of my senior quote. There were a lot of ups and downs this year — if I got one bad grade, that’s not going to make or break me at the end of the day. I think that as long as everyone sticks together throughout the pandemic, the most important thing is that we’ll find people you trust, who can support us and help us get through things. I know that there are specific teachers to whom I can reach out and ask for help, and knowing I have that support system is important. 

Thanks! Do you have anything else that you want to share?

I think I advertised ASU a lot in this, but I also want to promote Interact and Key Club, both of which have become a very important part of my time at Tech. I think community service is really important, and I think that out of the many community service clubs at Tech, joining one is important.

And just to remind everyone, when does ASU meet?

We meet bi-monthly on Tuesdays, so next week and in three weeks.

Thank you so much for coming, Christy! I appreciate the work done by ASU, Interact, and Key Club — and I wish you all the best!

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