On a campus that some students think is lacking diversity, Gary Day leads the Filipino American Student Organization, one of the oldest surviving student organizations at Chico State. Day is a 23-year-old biology student who hopes to work as either a zookeeper or animal trainer after college. The FASO’s mission is to help Filipino students associate with one another and help the campus and community learn more about Filipino culture. Day is excited about the potential the group has, and the challenges it faces in a predominantly white school.
Do you struggle with recruitment on a campus that some believe doesn’t have enough diversity?
We do, a little bit. Chico itself is not a very diverse town compared to bigger cities. Growing up in Susanville, I know what it’s like being a minority in a smaller town. It can be tough. But I love the team effort the club puts in. Because we are goal-oriented and fun-loving, I can see the club going far.
What is the most important aspect of Filipino culture that you try to teach students and members of the community?
We try to show how family-oriented Filipinos can be. We also want to let people know that we encourage non-Filipinos to join as well so they can learn our culture, and we can learn theirs.
What would you credit as the reasons why FASO has been and remains one of the oldest student organizations on campus?
I credit it to how loyal our members are. There was a point where the organization almost dissolved, but we have rallied together to stay alive and continued to have strong recruitment.
What do you potentially see in the future for this student organization?
I think that we can become a “household name” on campus. We can potentially be not only the oldest, but also one of the most popular organizations. We’re extremely proud of our efforts to bring diversity to the campus.
Typhoon Ketsana has left nearly 250 dead in the Philippines. What are the FASO’s plans to raise awareness of the crisis here on campus?
We have fundraised in the past to enhance education in the Philippines, but recently due to the typhoon we have helped the relief effort by making care packages for the Red Cross to help those in a very desperate situation.