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What is A3PI

A3PI is an identity initiative that was established to acknowledge, support and provide resources for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at Vanderbilt University. Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have long been among the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the United States. This group varies greatly depending on ancestry, history, cultural background, language, and other characteristics. It is an immensely diverse group of people in terms of income, ethnicity, migration status, and education.

Who are A3PI

As a broad term, this identity initiative is named “A3PI” to value and respect the existence of all Vanderbilt community members: students, faculty, staff, and post-docs, that identify as Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islanders. It encompasses all community members who are the descendants of the Asian continent,

  • Central Asians: Afghani, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgians, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek.
  • East Asians: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Okinawan, Taiwanese, Tibetan.
  • Southeast Asians: Bruneian, Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, Mien, Singaporean, Timorese, Thai, Vietnamese
  • South Asians: Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Indian, Maldivians, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan.
  • West Asians: typically is referred to as the Middle East; and geographically includes the countries of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey (straddles Europe and Asia) United Arab Emirates and Yemen,

and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Goals for A3PI
  • To connect Asian, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders at Vanderbilt in efforts to build community amongst this population.
  • To educate members of the Vanderbilt community on the history and culture of various Asian, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders communities .
  • To advocate for issues relating to the Asian, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders experience on campus.
Prevent and Respond to Anti-Asian Behavior

You may encounter a number of experiences that are common to A3PI. Here are TIPS on stigma, language and COVID-19:

  • Use the official term for the novel coronavirus and disease that it causes (COVID-19). To avoid stigmatization refrain from attaching locations, countries, or ethnicities to the virus.
  • Use “people – first” language when talking about the virus. Say “people who have COVID-19” or “people who are recovering from COVID-19”, instead of “COVID-19 patients” or “coronavirus victims.”
  • Use neutral, technical terms like “acquiring” or “contracting” when talking about COVID-19 instead of those that may carry a negative implication, such as “infecting others” or “spreading the virus,” which can imply guilt or blame.

On Campus Resources

The Asian Studies Department

The Asian Studies Department is Vanderbilt’s home for the study of Asian languages and cultures.  As a center for interdisciplinary inquiry, our program explores Asia through the multiple lenses of literature, history, history of art, religious studies, political science, sociology, film and media studies. Our faculty’s expertise spans widely across Asian regions, especially encompassing the countries of China, Japan, Korea, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. We offer language instruction in Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, and Korean. Tibetan is offered through a telepresence consortium with the University of Virginia and Duke University. Over three hundred students from all around campus study Asian languages with us each year.

Asian Studies anticipates launching an Asian Diaspora/Asian American Studies major and minor track by fall 2023. The College of Arts and Sciences is in the process of hiring a cohort of scholars to create this Asian Diaspora/Asian American Studies major.  In fall 2021, Vivian Shaw, a Mellon postdoctoral fellow, began teaching courses on Asian American sociology. Mark Sanchez, a scholar of Asian American history, will begin teaching fall 2022. In addition, the English department, in conjunction with Asian Studies, is currently conducting a search for a faculty member who will teach Asian American literature and culture, starting in fall 2022.

Student Center for Social Justice and Identity (SCSJI)

The mission of the SCSJI is to foster an environment of inclusion and multiculturalism by increasing students and student organizations’ development around intercultural competence and social justice as well as promote co-curricular programming that celebrates and recognizes the various cultures of the Vanderbilt student body.  SCSJI advocates for diverse populations of students by intentionally advising and holistically supporting the needs and issues surrounding and affecting them

Student Care Network

Student Care Network is a holistic network of services and resources pertaining to health and wellness available to all Vanderbilt University students who have paid the Student Health Fee, including all undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

  • Identity-based Drop-in consultation is available for AAPI students every Wednesday 1:00pm-2:00pm. A Drop-in Consultation provides easy access to informal, confidential, and free consultations with clinicians (counselors) from the University Counseling Center (UCC).

Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

The Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion endeavors to help make Vanderbilt University a leading learning institution where achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion are its highest priorities as it trains global citizens who will contribute to the development of a better nation and world.  We are committed to offering resources and initiatives that help us make Vanderbilt a welcoming and inclusive space for all members of this vibrant community.

  • University community members who have experienced bias incidents or want to learn more about how to combat unconscious bias are invited to attend a ‘Disrupting Everyday Bias Workshop
  • AAPI Employee Affinity Group (AAPI EAG) : Employee Affinity Groups (EAGs) are employee-led and facilitated groups formed around interests, backgrounds, identities, and common bonds. The AAPI EAG is a space for individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to gather to address and share issues and concerns that impact the group, such as racism, immigration, mental health, and the like.  It is a space to have their voices heard and to make the invisible visible while engaging in both social programming and community activism. For more information or to join, contact Laura Mariko Cheifetz  or Justine Chen.

Equal, Opportunity, and Access (EOA)

EOA provides a range of services that support Vanderbilt’s commitment to fairness, equity, access and respect.

Public and Campus Safety

The Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) takes campus security very seriously and is committed to the efforts to maintain a safe, secure environment for Vanderbilt students, faculty staff, and visitors. Personal safety is a priority at Vanderbilt. Maintaining a safe campus requires a dedicated partnership between the members of the Vanderbilt community and the VUPD.

  • Emergency Phones: More than 100 emergency telephones are located throughout the university campus and medical center.  Each phone has an emergency button that, when pressed, automatically dials the VUPD Communications Center.  An officer will be sent to check on the user of the phone, even if nothing is communicated to the dispatcher.  An emergency response can also be activated by dialing 1-1911 from any campus phone.  Cell phone users can dial 615-421-1911 to summon an emergency response on campus.  For off-campus emergencies, dial 911. Only call 911, however, for life-threatening emergencies such as fires, serious injuries, etc.  For non-life-threatening emergencies such as reporting theft, break-ins, property damage, etc, please call 862-8600 to optimize the 911 emergency resources.  For more information on what constitutes an emergency, go to:
  • Walking Escort Service: VUPD also provides walking escorts for students, faculty, and staff walking to and from any locations on campus during the nighttime hours.  The telephone number to call for a walking escort is x18888 (or 421-8888 off-campus).

Off Campus Resources

External Information and Educational Resources:

Local Resources:

Working towards racial justice by building API community, lifting API voices, and unpacking API identities.

The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) is the premier leadership organization for Asian and Asian American professionals in North America, with 30 chapters, several thousand active members, and a reach of more than 20,000 professionals. Founded in 1982, NAAAP is a volunteer-run non-profit that inspires, develops, and connects leaders across industries and communities through networking and educational events, trainings, community service programs, and celebrations of Asian American excellence.

TIRRC was founded in 2003. It is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state.

GNCA was established in 1984 with members from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization representing the Chinese community in Middle Tennessee. GNCA’s mission is to provide a platform for connecting individuals, families, and businesses for Chinese and non-Chinese communities in Middle Tennessee. GNCA strives to share Chinese heritage, culture, and learning resources with anyone interested, and promote diversity in Middle Tennessee.

The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a family-friendly celebration of spring and Japanese culture. Admission is free. Festival highlights include a full day of live Japanese music and dance, a roving “Candyman,” martial arts demonstrations, children’s activities, anime merchandise, a Cosplay Contest, sumo-suit wrestling and a variety of Japanese food, including special menus from some of Nashville’s favorite food trucks.

News and Events

University statement on violence against Asians and Asian Americans

Panel to focus on violence against Asians and Asian Americans through lens of history and racial injustice

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month theme explores power of the ‘extraordinary’

Interest session for new Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Affinity Group is April 1

Staff listening session on Asian, Asian American violence scheduled for this week