the best colleges and universities for aapi students: dartmouth

This month, to kick off the school year, I'm partnering with Asian Pacific Americans for Progress to bring you a very special list of The Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students. Over the next two weeks, we'll be profiling the top ten best schools for AAPI student activism (in no particular order). Today, we kick things off with...

Dartmouth College
Private university
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
Founded: 1769
Enrollment: Approximately 4,000 undergraduate students
API population: 15%
Interesting fact: All students from families with an annual income less than $75,000 go to Dartmouth for free!

I've grown to love the struggle and bite of the Asian community, as small as it is, to combat and win the small battles, from streetside name-calling to deeply ingrained prejudices on our campus. As a community, we have endured so much and always rose above the hurt and ignorance to move forward. You won't find your typical Asian community at Dartmouth, but definitely one that is ambitious, persevering and worthy of celebrating. - A student nominator

Overall, we were impressed by the many opportunities available for AAPI students to learn about AAPI issues, student-coordinated projects and events, and evidence of AAPI student organizations maintaining coalitions with other students of color, as well as other students working on progressive issues.

The motto of Dartmouth is "The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness," which is probably appropriate in describing the racial demographics in the surrounding area. There's not a whole lot of diversity in the rural area, but the college provides a good amount of resources for AAPI students to learn about AAPI issues and to develop their skills as social justice leaders. Nora Yasumura serves as the Pan-Asian Advisor in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, and works with students to coordinate the Pan Asian Council (a coalition of AAPI organizations for campus advocacy and leadership development), the Diversity Peer Leadership Program, and the Asians in America Identities Retreat. Other programs include a First Generation College Network and a Pan Asian Wellness Initiative, which focuses on mental health, and other student initiated projects to address gender and social class issues.

Some AAPI activist projects at Dartmouth include a project to mentor trans-racially adopted Asian children in the local area, a bone marrow drive, a successful campaign that established the Pan Asian Resource Room on campus, and ongoing efforts to institutionalize Asian American Studies. Some past speakers that have recently visited campus include: Helen Zia, Maxine Hong Kingston, Gary Okihiro, Captain and Chaplain James Yee, Valerie Kaur, Mari Matsuda, Frank Wu, Shilpa Dave, Margaret Cho, David Choe, the Slant Performance Group, and Lisa Lowe.

On top of all of this, Dartmouth's President is Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Very few colleges and universities can boast of having an Asian American president, and Dr. Kim is the Ivy League's first.

Way to go, Dartmouth! Keep up the great work! To see the rest of the Best Colleges and Universities for AAPI Students, go here.

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