Joseph Malasa

2019 | Psychology/American Studies |

Why did you decide to run for this position?

Knowing the impact OYFA has had on my life, I knew that this position involved a tremendous pressure. Because of OYFA, I was supported by so many people during one of the most difficult and shifting periods of my life. I believed that OYFA was invaluable and unexplainably amazing, so I struggled to see myself as the facilitator for more. Although I love OYFA to death, I saw so many parts of the organization that made my life more stressful and challenging. The first time I ran for President, I set out to make a change to make the organization the best place to be the best version of themselves. The reason I ran a second time, I realized that I still want to make that change. We can constantly revise the organization to reflect what the community needs. However, before I leave UVA, I want to call out the issues affecting the whole University and hold administration accountable so that OYFA and the AAPI community can thrive. OYFA deserves to be a space where students at UVA can celebrate what it means to be Filipino-American and I intend to make that last for generations.

What is your favorite OYFA memory?

My favorite OYFA memories are any opportunity OYFA has given me to yell at the top of my lungs. I remember losing my voice at parties, at Tom Deluca, at conferences, at hangouts, and at elections. I will never forget how many times I loudly told someone to make the best decision you'll ever make by joining OYFA at the Activities Fair. Whether it be screaming out to my upperclassmen when they are walking across the stage getting their diploma or my first baby class when they danced during Barrio, I am always so grateful for OYFA giving me a reason to raise my voice. I've been empowered by the people I've met in this org to use my voice, not just for me, but my community.

What is one goal you want to accomplish by the end of the year?

Throughout my life, but especially during my college career, I've struggled with my identity regarding mental health and Asian masculinity. Raised in a family where my parents reserve discussing their personal problems and surrounded in environments where I was supposed to be "amazing at everything", I often felt inferior when it came to my appearance, body, and identity. These conversations are ones that I think a lot about more as I'm involved with Asian American representation, sexual assault prevention, and mental health awareness, but I still don't allow myself to feel or process through my insecurities about myself. By the end of next year, I need to find a therapist I trust and do what I need to do in order to become more comfortable with who I am as an individual. I don't want people to just hear about the goals that I'm comfortable in saying, I want people to hold me accountable for who I really am.

Favorite class at UVA and why?

Asian American Studies with Sylvia Chong! This class really started my journey to understand what it means to be an Asian American in modern day America. Rather than consuming what mainstream white institutions have said about "Asians", I was able to develop my own opinions about my identity. In the class we learned about what Asians have gone through in the past 200 years and how they are represented in today's society. Understanding that the racialization of people have hugely affected their livelihood is something that isn't really discussed in typical "favorite" classes, especially about Asian Americans. So many diversity discussions are seen in black and white, so I will forever preach people to take the class!

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