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FILIPINOS AT FSU:
A BRIEF HISTORY

Filipinos 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.

ACT I:
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)

ACT II:
THE FILIPINO STUDENT ASSOCIATION OF THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY (1999-Present)

   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.

  The 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 from.

   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.

Disclaimer: 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.