FILIPINOS AT FSU:
A BRIEF HISTORY
have had a long history at FSU. Prior to the establishment of the
Filipino Student Association of the Florida State University,
there existed the FSU Filipino Student Association, founded by
Steve Sapiera and Manuel Garcia in 1991.
THE FSU FILIPINO STUDENT ASSOCIATION & THE FSU
FILIPINO-AMERICAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION (1991-1996)
The first Florida-based Filipino Student Association started in
Gainesville. By 1990, they had over 100 active members and were
going strong. The next Filipino Student Association was
established at the University of South Florida. FSAs at
Florida State and the University of Central Florida followed in
1991. The purpose of the FSA was to serve as a source for new
friendship, to participate in international university affairs,
and to educate the community about our culture. As time went
on, FSU FSA changed its name to the FSU Filipino-American Student
Association to emphasize that Filipinos and Americans alike were
welcome in the organization. However, in 1996, the organization
dissolved. (source: Manuel Garcia via email)
THE FILIPINO STUDENT ASSOCIATION OF THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
In the summer of 1999, a group of Filipino students began an
effort to establish a new Filipino organization at Florida State.
The organization was founded as a member organization of the young
Asian Student Union, which had been created by the Student
Government in 1996, to unify the growing number of Filipino
students at the Florida State University. Filipinos accounted for
the majority of the Asian student population on the Florida State
University campus and it was felt that an organization needed to
be founded to facilitate their needs.
In the Fall of 1999, FSA co-founders Rizción Dagani and Maves Rañola
officially chartered the Filipino Student Association of the
Florida State University and the FSA became an officially
registered and recognized FSU student organization and a proud
member of the Asian Student Union. The young FSA immediately
immersed itself in the Asian Student Union and became involved in
the FSU and Tallahassee communities by performing community
service and participating in area cultural events.
The 2000-2001 school year became a banner year for the young FSA.
With the support of the Big Bend Fil-Am Association and the Asian
Student Union, the FSA hosted its first annual Barrio Fiesta: A
Celebration of Philippine Culture, bringing in Filipina
R&B quartet OneVo1ce for a concert. The day-long celebration
opened with guest speaker Leilani Fontanilla, the Chairman of the
Council For Filipino-American Organizations in Orlando, workshops
by the former overall Commander for the Knights of Rizal-USA
Valentin Flores Dagani, Jr. (Philippine History), former Big Bend
Fil-Am Association President and Bayanihan Dancer Aurora Hansen
(Philippine Folk Dance), the Program Coordinator of the FSU
International Student Center Mafe Brooks (Tagalog Workshop) and
FSU Professor Caroline Picart (Being Asian in America). The
Merienda was sponsored by the Asian Student Union and the Big Bend
Fil-Am. The Barrio Fiesta proved to be huge success and was a
highlight of the Asian Student Union's Asian Awareness Month
Celebration. On the heels of the success of the Barrio
Fiesta, the FSA was named Asian Organization of the Year by
the Asian Student Union and International Organization of the
Year by the International Student Organization.
In 2001-2002, the FSA was again named Asian Organization of the
Year by the Asian Student Union and successfully hosted the
2nd Annual Barrio Fiesta featuring titofelix and a Tagalog
workshop and Merienda hosted by the Big Bend Fil-Am. The year saw
the revival of FSA's Dance Troupe Indak Pilipino and a stronger
presence of Filipinos at the Florida State University.
2002-2003 school year promises to bring FSA to new heights as
Filipinos continue to make their presence known. The school year
will see FSA members in leadership positions throughout ASU's
member organizations and on the ASU Board as well. The FSA will
continue to strive to be the best ASU has to offer and to attract
members both of Asian and non-Asian descent. The goal of FSA is to
show that the Filipino culture is unique and beautiful and to
enable its members to be proud of who they are and where they come
The FSA hopes to build on its success and hopes to continue to
provide a place for Filipinos to learn about their culture and be
among others who want to do the same.
This history was written using the sources available to us. We do
NOT claim that this is a complete history of the FSAs/FASA of FSU.
PLEASE NOTE that this is a history of the FSA of FSU, not of any
other organization. This history is intended to show that prior to
the FSA of FSU, there was an FSU FSA/FASA. The FSA of FSU was
established by students who had no prior knowledge of the FSU FSA/FASA.
These students felt the absence of the FSA and set about to
establish an organization to fulfill their needs and the needs of
the ASU. These students acknowledge the impact of the FSU FSA/FASA
to their cause and thank the members of the FSU FSA/FASA for
paving the way for the establishment of the FSA of FSU.