Fanny Mei (Class of 2023)

This year, in honor of May’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, second year student Fanny Mei collaborated with the Office of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Darden Student Association to organize an event for the Darden community to hear and connect with the stories and narratives of their Asian American classmates and colleagues. Attendees gathered to hear stories from Darden students and faculty on what it means for them to navigate being Asian American growing up and now.

Fanny Mei was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and identifies as Chinese American. On how the event was conceptualized, she commented, “There is no one Asian American experience but I wanted to create a space where we can get a better sense of what it can be, and how there are still common experiences among the different Asian American identities. Storytelling is a powerful way for people to learn from each other. The storytelling event builds upon the tradition of Darden Stories, where members of the Darden community share their stories. This event focused on Asian American students and faculty at Darden and their experiences navigating what it means to be Asian American. There was food reflective of the wide range of cultures and histories of the Asian American community.”

Professor Dennie Kim, Billy Lin (Class of 2024), Fanny Mei (Class of 2023), Alyssa Tulabut (Class of 2024) and Juhi Amodwala (Class of 2023) during the April event.

“I am also a dual degree student with the School of Education. Through my independent study in the fall, I thought about how we can create a more inclusive space for Asian American students at Darden. I read some stories from people of different backgrounds and looked into the historical events, context and perspectives that have shaped the formation of the Asian American identity in the US. One big takeaway is the power of storytelling and how important it was to share both the struggles but also the achievements that the protagonists had.”

“The event included an overview and history of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month month and there were four storytellers that shared their stories. There were over 70 attendees at the event. There was space at the end of the event for reflection from the audience on the stories shared and an encouragement to connect with the larger Asian American Darden community members on their stories. I hope that this will become a tradition to learn more about the different Asian American identities and to celebrate the culture and history.”