Vision Mission History

Mission Statement

The mission of the Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center is to build a sense of belonging for AAPI students during their studies at the University of New Mexico. AAPIRC also seeks to provide culturally relevant programs that cultivate Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders within communities. The designation of AAPI includes East Asian, Southeast Asian, Central Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, and Arab American students at UNM. 

Vision Statement

The vision of AAPIRC is to provide a physical space where students are able to enrich their university social experience and access student services, programs, research, and educational opportunities without feeling the guilts of the "Model Minority Myth" (SC Pacific Asia Museum).

Who Do We Serve? 

Students of all ethnicities and nationalities can come to AAPIRC and utilize our services. However, the programming, events, advisement, and resources are centered on the needs of Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. Students of the following heritages, along with others not listed here, are housed under our definition of the AAPI term: 

East Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Mongolia, and Taiwan

Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam

South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet

Central Asia: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

Pacific Islander: Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Somoa

South West Asia & North Africa (SWANA): Armenia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen

AAPIRC aims to be inclusive of all students who identify as API, including adopted students, mixed-race students, international students, and all others.


History of AAPIRC 

The AAPI Resource Center was officially established in the 2021-2022 school year. Our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony took place on April 28th, in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month. 


1980s-2000s: For years, members of the community discussed the importance of a resource center that was dedicated to serving students of Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, South Asian, and Arab descent. Students have advocated for this center for years, especially during the 80s civil rights movement and early 2000s. 

2020: During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Asian hate crimes surged by 145% (Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism). Previously invisibilized issues that Asian Americans faced became nationally broadcast during this time. On UNM's campus, students became acutely aware of the way their community was being affected. 

Congruently, students from across different areas on campus had begun these conversations in the fall of 2019. A student committee was formed, headed by students Emma Hotz and Jacob Olaguir. The committee included students from the Asian American Student Association and students across campus, including Andy Bui, Micah Cornelio, Ana Danh, Jaciel Forbes, Miles Harris, Dasie Kent, Carla Law, Alina Le, Buddhiphorn Irene Sananoue, Sahana Ummadi, Leah Vig, and Helen Zhao. Students had conversations with the administration, worked on proposals, and started social media pages to gain momentum, specifically on a petition to establish an Asian/Pacific Islander Resource Center on UNM's campus, which received more than 1000 signatures. 

Fall 2020: Students drafted and proposed Student Fee Review Board (SFRB) funding for the fiscal 2021-2022 school year. AAPIRC was funded at $73k for staff and student salaries and programming. 

Spring 2021: The SFRB Budget request was approved by the Budget Leadership Team and the Board of Regents

Students Emma Hotz and Buddhiphorn Irene Sananoue created more sub-committees and worked with College Enrichment and Outreach Programs (CEOP) Director, Jose Villar, to create a hiring committee for the AAPIRC Student Success Specialist in the summer of 2021. Students also set the official name for the center as AAPIRC and found their permanent location in rooms 211 and 212 of the Education Classrooms where AAPIRC is currently located. The center then officially opened during limited hours and by appointment!

Fall 2021: Student Emma Hotz, Jose Villar, and CEOP Staff worked to get the physical center functioning, which included necessary renovations and other organizational efforts. 

During the fall, students Charlotte Auh and Bethany Brundage were hired, they have been instrumental in helping spread the word to students- specifically underclassmen and student organizations, helping with events, establishing the bimonthly newsletter, and programming events for the Spring of 2022. 

Spring 2022: During the spring, Kiyoko Simmons was added to the team as Interim Director. Kiyoko is currently the Scholarship & Outreach Manager at the UNM Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development (CAELD). 

Farah Nousheen was also hired as the Student Success Specialist, Sr. for AAPIRC. Prior to working at AAPIRC, Farah was an academic advisor for the College of Arts & Sciences. Both leaders have been instrumental in ensuring AAPIRC reaches and effectively serves the broader UNM community. Spring 2022 also marked AAPIRC's official grand opening and first commencement ceremony. 

Present: AAPIRC continues to support students, faculty, and staff through culturally educational and celebratory events and programs. We thank you for all of your support!