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The State Hornet

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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
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Samahang Pilipino club strengthens cultural identity and builds community

The club aims to unify and educate members about Filipino culture
%28L-R%29+Samahang+Pilipino+president+Maxwell+Zarzuela%2C+club+member+Adriel+Lacandazon+and+club+treasurer+Alan+Jason+David+Monday%2C+Oct.+2%2C+2023.+Zarzuela+said+the+club%E2%80%99s+goal+is+to+help+students+connect+with+their+identity+and+community.+%28Photos+by+Brionna+Woody%2C+Graphic+created+in+Canva+by+Alyssa+Branum%29
Brionna Woody
(L-R) Samahang Pilipino president Maxwell Zarzuela, club member Adriel Lacandazon and club treasurer Alan Jason David Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Zarzuela said the club’s goal is to help students connect with their identity and community. (Photos by Brionna Woody, Graphic created in Canva by Alyssa Branum)

Life in college is so much more than classes, lectures and assignments. It is an opportunity to gain a diverse set of experiences and engage in a journey of self discovery and growth.

Campus clubs are an important part of the college experience, offering students new opportunities, ways to serve their community and long-lasting friendships.

The Samahang Pilipino club at Sacramento State, is no exception. Established in 1980, the club is one of the largest Asian American organizations on campus. Maxwell Zarzuela, a sixth-year sociology major and president of Samahang Pilipino said it bridges various communities at Sac State to one another, helping them to foster relationships and connections.

“The foundation of the club is to inspire and help students to be active in the community, connect with their culture, their heritage and to understand their identity in terms of not just being Filipino or being Asian American, but a person of color,” Zarzuela said.

At the start of every meeting, they recite the Filipino national anthem. Zarzuela said the cultural chair gives ‘cultural lessons’ to inform others and strengthen club members’ sense of cultural identity.

In an effort to create safe and welcoming spaces outside of the club on campus, club members gather inside the University Union at a special table where they frequently hang out and do homework.

Adriel Lacandazon, a second-year graphic design major and club member said that being part of Samahang Pilipino shaped his college experience in a unique way.

As a first generation college student, Lacandazon said he was unfamiliar with college, campus life and it was nerve wracking to figure out what he wanted to do. He credits the club for helping him transition into college.

“With this club, I kind of realized that I’m not alone, there’s a lot of people in this club that are also first generation students,” Lacandazon said. “There’s a little group of you all in the same situation, but you guys work together to try to achieve your goals.”

Kipcia Gonzalez, a program advisor for Student Organizations and Leadership at Sac State, works closely with cultural clubs on campus to help them with getting recognition, fulfilling administrative tasks and connecting them with opportunities to enhance their outreach and presence on campus.

Gonzalez said Samahang Pilipino is unique because their mission is to bring people together from different backgrounds to educate them about Filipino culture and experiences.

“They support the individuals that are directly affected by those identities, but also outreach to individuals that just want to become more involved and allies to these communities,” Gonzalez said.

Club members similarly agree that learning about and connecting with Filipino culture is not exclusive to only those who share that background.

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Alan-Jason David, club treasurer and fifth-year biology major said his favorite thing about the club is that everyone’s personal journey converges to one point when meeting each other in the club.

“I’ve met so many other non-Filipinos from this club and it kind of helps with gaining new experiences from how other people have grown up because you don’t only learn about the Filipino American experience, but you kind of just learn about how other people eventually got here to Sac State,” David said.

He encourages everyone to attend meetings and join the club if they want to learn more about Filipino culture and experience.

David, who transferred last year, said he felt out of place coming into Sac State because he was older than some of his classmates. However, after joining the club he met others who shared similar experiences and could relate to his feelings.

“I realized that in essence, I wasn’t as unique as I thought because there’s a lot more people that were in my same predicament here,” David said.

Through his continuous attendance, David built up his own community of friends who he said he is always excited to see and hang out with.

“It’s something to look forward to every day other than the academic side,” David said.

The club serves as a place to host community service and campus events that give students a safe space outside of meetings for personal and professional growth.

“As a first generation student, it has always been my intention to find a community and that’s what I found in this club,” Lacandazon said. “It’s not just a social club, but we often work together to help each other grow.”

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Maishia Sumpter, DEI Staffer
(she/her) Maishia Sumpter is a senior majoring in journalism who transferred in the fall of 2022.This is her first semester on the State Hornet, but she was a writer for her previous school’s online publication, Diablo Valley College’s The Inquirer. She is most interested in covering topics related to civic engagement and social justice and plans to pursue a career in writing and producing stories for those topics.
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