The Power of Student Conferences

Wow what a weekend. 

It has been a few days since I came back from the 2012 Midwest ITASA Conference out at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and I am still recovering from all the good vibes!

When I was doing my undergrad, I’m sad to say that I never participated in any student conferences. I was always too busy working or rehearsing for some production. But attending student conferences as a speaker made me realize all the goodness that I had missed out on. So before we get too far into the post, let’s just say, major props to the ITASA board & the organizers of the midwest conference for putting together an inspiring and engaging weekend. Being an organizer myself, I know how hard it can be to pull off a large-scale event like this, so I am super proud of you guys.

On Saturday, I led a workshop about Thick Dumpling Skin and how portrayals of Asian Americans in mass media can affect the way we view ourselves physically. Similar to the workshop that I did for the East Coast ITASA Conference at Georgia Tech, I talked about my own unhealthy quest to be thin, my theories about how I got to that point of  (hint: mass media portrayals ahem, partially), and then I showed some clips that demonstrated specific Asian stereotypes that we see over and over again.  

By raising awareness around these stereotypes, my hope is that we’ll be concious of their purpose rather than simply consuming them and conforming to them without realizing it. 

Conference attendees at my workshop!

I also had the privilege of getting to know some of my fellow speakers on a more personal level. Their passion for what they do was apparent and admirable. Check them out and support their work!

Samuel Wang, founder of Akufuncture, Evan Huang, cofounder of BaoHaus NY, HoChie Tsai, founder of TaiwaneseAmerican.orgKevin Lien, YouTube artist, Eddie & Jason Lee (& Eric Lu), founders of JubileeProjectFrances Kai-Hwa Wang, Writer/Activist, and Stephanie Wu & Christine Wei, Exec Board of Mochi Magazine.

Lastly, the closing banquet. Holy mockerel. Can I just say that the Chinee yo-yo is no joke, especially when Revolution is in charge. I almost had to remind myself to breathe. 

All in all, a great weekend spent with the next generation of Asian American leaders. It was an honor to have been invited.

For more info about the conference and ITASA in case you missed it, go here.

- Lisa

Do you want Thick Dumpling Skin at your event? Contact us!

Lisa Leeitasa