Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association

Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association

ITASA is led by students who are passionate about the Taiwanese American community. The organization’s leadership is intimately aware of their community’s needs, leveraging both their lived experiences and external leadership. ITASA leadership is selected from individuals who not only have demonstrated prior success, but also those with fresh ideas

Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association

ITASA is led by students who are passionate about the Taiwanese American community. The organization’s leadership is intimately aware of their community’s needs, leveraging both their lived experiences and external leadership. ITASA leadership is selected from individuals who not only have demonstrated prior success, but also those with fresh ideas and potential to grow. We foster an environment where tenured leaders can mentor emerging leaders, and new initiatives are given a chance to thrive. Many of our leaders have ties to the broader Taiwanese American community through their involvement in first-generation organizations, summer camps for Taiwanese American youth, and our partner organizations. Through these connections, ITASA has a strong support system to sustain its leaders and their programs. Our work has shown that ITASA is strongest when its network is strong. We see success for ITASA not just when attendance at events is high, but when a diverse range of students come together and engage in meaningful dialogue about identity, while also having fun and creating a long-lasting community. Over the years, we have built a strong alumni network, stretching back to the original “seeds” that planned the first ITASA conference. Seeing alumni come back to speak at conferences, provide mentorship, and return to plan anniversary events is a testament to our success thus far. We are also proud to see our alumni remain active in the Taiwanese American community through young professionals groups and industry associations.

About the Organization:

ITASA is led by students who are passionate about the Taiwanese American community. The organization’s leadership is intimately aware of their community’s needs, leveraging both their lived experiences and external leadership. ITASA leadership is selected from individuals who not only have demonstrated prior success, but also those with fresh ideas and potential to grow. We foster an environment where tenured leaders can mentor emerging leaders, and new initiatives are given a chance to thrive. Many of our leaders have ties to the broader Taiwanese American community through their involvement in first-generation organizations, summer camps for Taiwanese American youth, and our partner organizations. Through these connections, ITASA has a strong support system to sustain its leaders and their programs. Our work has shown that ITASA is strongest when its network is strong. We see success for ITASA not just when attendance at events is high, but when a diverse range of students come together and engage in meaningful dialogue about identity, while also having fun and creating a long-lasting community. Over the years, we have built a strong alumni network, stretching back to the original “seeds” that planned the first ITASA conference. Seeing alumni come back to speak at conferences, provide mentorship, and return to plan anniversary events is a testament to our success thus far. We are also proud to see our alumni remain active in the Taiwanese American community through young professionals groups and industry associations.

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

26-30 YEARS

The Issue:

The Taiwanese American community has had its unique challenges in erasure within the scope of the Asian American community due to a complex mix of political, historical and societal changes in modern history. This was particularly evident in the aftermath of the recent shooting on May 15th at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church luncheon in Irvine, California. As the news came out, the police, media, and Taiwanese Americans had to grapple with how to explain that the shooter was an ethnically Han-Chinese Taiwan-born individual who grew to hate Taiwanese democratic values and the communities that organized under them. In the aftermath of the event, the community continues to struggle with the question, “What does it mean to be Taiwanese American?”. The erasure is particularly prominent in demographic data driven by undercounting in the Census and other surveys, masking the true demographics of the community. There continues to be a need for spaces and resources for Taiwanese America to explore its identity, uplift itself and its broader AAPI community, and create an infrastructure to support today’s students and generations to come.

The Solution:

For 30 years now, our organization has provided a collegiate network for young Taiwanese American students to organize and lead within a nonprofit that was formally incorporated in 1998. ITASA’s student-run National Board provides the invaluable experience of being a leader, which has helped launch industry and community leaders (such as Kevin Lin, Twitch co-founder). Our national network consists of Taiwanese American student organizations on college campuses coast-to-coast. As we navigate a new normal with COVID, we need to reactivate the community, and reinvest in our programs and resources. Our programs range from national conferences, leadership training retreats, professional mentorship programs, cultural enrichment opportunities, to special programs that are pertinent to the issues impacting students today. These programs are student-led and produced under the guidance of a nonprofit board of directors composed of tenured ITASA alumni that return to mentor students.

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