Patricia Luong is a senior this year at UMass Amherst, majoring in operations and information management, with a minor in sociology. She is also a member of the Commonwealth Honors College.
Besides studying, Patricia has also been actively involved in multiple clubs and organizations offered here at UMass. Let’s hear what Patrica has to say about her experience being involved in clubs at UMass Amherst for the last few years!
Why did you decide to come to UMass Amherst?
“I decided to come to UMass Amherst because I knew I wanted to go to a large university that had a vibrant campus life and provided a variety of options for my academic career and professional goals,” Patricia states. She knew UMass Amherst was the perfect option because it had all of those qualities while offering an affordable college experience as well.
What clubs are you a part of?
Patricia has an impressive array of involvement throughout her years at UMass. “I have been an executive board member of the Asian American Student Association(AASA) since my freshman year. I am also a sister of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority since my sophomore year,” she tells me. Kappa Phi Lambda is a part of the multicultural Greek council at UMass. “Lastly, I've worked as a diversity fellow for the Office of Admissions at UMass for the past 2 years,” she adds.
How did you first get involved in these clubs at UMass Amherst?
When Patricia started college she wanted to push herself to become involved in clubs and to be able to make a difference on campus.
“In high school, I was highly involved in multiple non profit organizations that provided assistance to the Asian and Asian American community in Boston's very own Chinatown. I knew that I wanted to continue this and serve the people in my community, so I joined the AASA and Kappas after hearing about it at the Fall activities expo,” she says.
She applied to become a Diversity Fellow with UMass Office of Admissions after being informed of the job listing from working with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) at UMass.
How are the clubs you are involved in similar or different?
Patricia describes her experience in AASA to me: “AASA strives to serve the Asian and Asian American community by providing a social and educational platform to share our experiences and unite the community at UMass,” she says. AASA holds multiple events during the year, which lead up to their biggest event, Asian Night. Asian Night draws in more than 1,000 attendees with student performances, giveaways, free food and more. Impressive!
She then goes on to talk about her experience as a sister of Kappa Phi Lambda. “Kappa Phi Lambda serves to strengthen sisterhood amongst our members while promoting cultural diversity through our events, philanthropic contributions, and community service within the UMass community,” she says.
This all ties together in her role as a Diversity Fellow with the Office of Admissions where, “our goal is to recruit and enroll students from low income, multicultural, and underrepresented demographics,” she describes.
Do the clubs you are active with relate to your major at all? If so, how?
“As an OIM major, my extracurriculars are not directly related to my major,” Patricia says. “However, I found by being deeply involved in the multicultural student community, my experiences have not only enriched my social life but also imparted important lessons that are applicable to my professional life as well.”
Patricia describes how she views college as a microcosm for the society we live in, especially the corporate workplace. “Through supporting diversity initiatives on my own college campus for the past four years, I realized the importance of continuing this in a professional setting,” she says.
She discusses how it has inspired her to take a deeper look into companies and concentrate on contributing to a healthy and diverse workplace culture in her future. “It's important to have representation and provide opportunities for people like me in the corporate space,” she concludes.
Do you have any advice for students from underrepresented groups about how to make the most of their time at UMass Amherst?
“My biggest piece of advice is to own your identity and your background. Be unapologetically yourself, and genuine people will gravitate towards you,” Patricia begins. “Transitioning into college and navigating through undergrad can be a daunting journey, especially for underrepresented students or students that don't have access to resources back at home.”
“However,” Patricia continues, “there are so many organizations, faculty members, staff members, and programs at UMass that are committed to the success and happiness of students like us.” She encourages students not to be afraid to reach out and ask for help, and to get involved on campus!
Patricia leaves us with this awesome advice to incoming students: “I've met some of my best friends and made unforgettable memories by being involved. Most of all, I was able to gain tangible leadership experience and make a difference on campus through my extracurriculars, which has played an integral role in allowing me to grow in my social, academic, personal, and professional life at UMass. I've had such a fulfilling and amazing undergrad experience at UMass by making the best of my situations, so I hope that you will too!”