By Sean Cubillas
What does the Asian Pop Culture Club do?
For the past eight years, the Asian Pop Culture Club (APOP) has developed a cultural experience for the St. Edward’s community like no other. It’s a special space for those interested in Asian pop culture to meet, share ideas, and experience with one another the constantly shifting and changing trends found overseas. In essence, it’s a social club that allows its members to hangout, make friends, and learn about events and trends that relate to Asian media, whether it be at a local Anime convention, a K-Pop concert, or even just the premiere of a new television show. The club itself is not exclusive to Asian students or those knowledgeable about anime and Asian film in general. It promotes Asian culture by creating an open and accessible environment that not only accepts everyone on campus but actively engages with people, helping them learn about different cultural practices and even immerse themselves in those practices.
What do you get out of participating in APOP?
When asked what they believed the organization provides to its members, the president of APOP responded, “I think the Asian Pop Culture Club provides a safe environment for people who love Asian Pop Culture to come together. It gives people a platform for people to discuss their favorite parts of Asian Pop Culture without any judgement. We mainly talk about anime and Korean pop music and give a chance for our members to learn more about it.”
The club’s plethora of activities and vocal members ensure that the environment is encouraging and providing plenty of opportunities to discover something new. The club adds a very casual, yet colorful, layer to the campus that exemplifies the diverse and open community within St. Edward’s, and its motto, “Take on Your World.”
In terms of actual club proceedings, the club itself meets on a weekly basis, every Friday from 3 to 5 pm. During meetings, the club watches and talks about their “Semester Show,” an anime series that the club follows by episode over the course of a semester. They also participate in group activities, or “ice breakers,” prepared by the officers to encourage members to both know one another and engage with some aspect of Asian culture. This has included a Halloween game, where APOP tests member’s knowledge of traditional Asian spirits and myths, and a calligraphy event, where a guest speaker teaches people how to perform traditional, Japanese calligraphy. At the end of a meeting, when there’s time, the club allows for a couple of members to recommend an anime of their choice (as long as it excludes graphic nudity and violence) to show everyone.
APOP also arranges for monthly events and activities outside of general meetings. This is to provide longer and more active opportunities for members to meet and socialize, as well as experience specific media and activities not traditionally shown during regular meetings. In the past, APOP has hosted movie nights, fund raisers selling homemade, traditional Asian goods, K-Pop dance parties, and even special ramen bars, where members get to prepare their own ramen meal.
The community itself is welcoming, with club officers actively and casually engaging with their members and encouraging participation and involvement in activities. General proceedings are light and casual. They try to cultivate a tolerant and open experience that allows everyone opportunities to share, and APOP discourages instances of intolerance and aggressive behavior. Under Section 1, Article IV of their bylaws, they state that “Members will be dismissed if they are rude, disrespectful, or inappropriate.”
What does APOP contribute to the St. Edward’s community?
As a whole, APOP represents the Asian and fanatic community by allowing people to comfortably discuss the different aspects Asian culture that have had the miraculous opportunity to protrude borders. Such a phenomenon has not only allowed for American audiences to become aware of Asian culture, but has developed groups that actively immerse themselves in its media and consistently celebrate its events and cultural tone. Through APOP, St. Edward’s has embraced and voiced that community.
How can students get involved?