By Edith Yang

UC Santa Cruz’s Filipino Student Association (FSA) aims to promote diversity and unite the Filipino population on campus. The association orchestrates and oversees a myriad of events, programs, performing arts groups and more. FSA is one of the biggest student organizations on campus that supports the school’s multitude of cultures. City on a Hill Press (CHP) sat down with FSA member Airene Grace Rosete Tomboc to discuss the organization’s history, upcoming events and its presence in the student population.

CHP: When was the Filipino Student Association established?

Tomboc: A few Filipino people established it in the ’80s because they noticed that there were not that many Filipinos on the UCSC campus. Because we are such a minority, we retain students by coming together. FSA is considered an umbrella organization that has different programs based off [of it].

CHP: What does FSA umbrella?

Tomboc: The organization is known as Filipino Student Association, but it’s split up among different interests. So, we have our performing aspects like our traditional folk dancing, our a cappella choir, our ballroom and hip-hop dancing. We also have acting, literary journals, retention programs such as KAMP (Kuya Ate Mentorship Program), and ASF (A Step Forward) where we take accepted students to UC Santa Cruz, show them around and hope that they find a community when they come to our school.

CHP: What space does your organization provide for students that can’t be found anywhere else on campus?

Tomboc: The main thing in Filipino culture is family, so by coming together we create a community — a safe space for people to learn more about their own culture. [For second-generation Filipinos], we lose our history and a lot of [us] don’t even know our own language. We also have non-Filipino students in our organization who relate to us. We create a space to learn [which allows us to have] a voice in solidarity with other people too.

CHP: Does FSA have any special traditions?

Tomboc: In the beginning of the year, we have KAMP, the retention program. We have a banquet where everyone is put into families of different themes and they come together for that one night. More than 200 people show up and it’s a fun event. Also, we have our Filipino Cultural Celebration this year with more than 150 participants and we showcase the performing aspects into one large show.

CHP: What is your most memorable moment with FSA?

Tomboc: I would have to say the Filipino Cultural Celebration, just because you get to meet everyone that is in the performing aspects [of FSA] and you actually learn something from everyone. This year’s theme is based off the People Power movement in the Philippines, so [we learn] more about the historical aspects of Filipino culture.

CHP: What upcoming events can we expect from FSA?

Tomboc: We are having a FSA fair coming up [with] a bunch of different workshops and networking opportunities. We also have the Pagkakisa Dance Troupe and they’re having a unity showcase calling out to different organizations and talents.

_Pagkakisa Dance Troupe will perform March 22. _