On a Saturday afternoon in September, the kind of day most college students would spend sprawled on a quad, soaking up the moments that still feel like summer, the Dartmouth Asian American Student Collective was getting organized. Its members had gathered to finalize a mission statement and a petition to circulate across campus.
Their goal? Persuade the administration of Dartmouth College to create an Asian American studies program.
Lily Ren, who led the meeting with her classmate Maanasi Shyno, said that taking classes that centered Asian American experiences at Dartmouth helped her better understand her own identity. “Because I was so transformed by these classes, I thought: How many other students didn’t have the opportunity to also learn so much, just because there were so few of them offered and you couldn’t major or minor in it?” she said in an interview in November.