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Student finds a sense of belonging in the Purdue Filipino Association

Moving across the country for college was a bigger challenge than Dominic Liongson, a senior in natural resources and environmental sciences, anticipated. But after jumping in and finding his way, he confidently says he “found a sense of home at Purdue.”

Liongson recalls the culture shock he experienced his first few months at Purdue after moving there from Sacramento. He only knew one person from his high school who was also attending Purdue.

“There were many changes I experienced in my first few months on campus, including things like the weather and the people. I remember instantly realizing how everyone was so friendly here and went out of their way to get to know one another. This made me feel very welcomed,” Liongson said.

He joined many student organizations that piqued his interest during freshman year as he searched for community, such as the Pre-Veterinary Club, the Zoological Society and, ultimately, the Purdue Filipino Association (PFA).

“My friend from high school convinced me to go, and I decided to give it a shot. I was so focused on getting to know people that I didn’t realize what a large Asian American community was here and what opportunities existed. I wasn’t expecting there to be a Filipino association.”

The PFA is both a cultural and social student-led organization established in 1989. PFA encourages students from all backgrounds to learn about Filipino and Filipino-American culture through bi-monthly meetings, social, philanthropic and cultural events.

The organization quickly became a home away from home for Liongson. During his four years in PFA, he has served in leadership roles, including an executive role. He also works at the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center as the undergraduate student ambassador. 

Liongson enjoys seeing PFA grow and flourish. When he joined the group, there were around 50 active members, now there are nearly 200. He credits the tight-knit community they have created to efforts such as the mentoring program that connects club members across campus.

Liongson is proud that the Asian American community at Purdue is robust. “The Asian American community at Purdue is not just large, but the volume of voice we have is great, and the openness of each organization is amazing.”  

The PFA and similar organizations celebrate and educate others about their cultures. One way that PFA does this is by hosting an annual Philippine Culture Night, a theatrical experience that promotes Filipino culture.

Liongson performed in the Philippine Culture Night as part of the PFA

Philippine Culture Night
Dominic poses with friends of PFA.
Philippine Culture Night
Philippine Culture Night

The productions are written and produced by students and incorporate both traditional and modern dances. Selling out nearly every show, this annual event has become a powerful way for the PFA to celebrate and share their culture with the Purdue community.

Looking back on his four years in West Lafayette, Liongson smiles remembering his pre-conceived conceptions and how they have changed along the way.

“My vision of the Midwest prior to moving was not what it is. Coming here to find this strong Filipino community was a great surprise.”

- Dominic Liongson, a senior in natural resources and environmental sciences

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Liongson poses with friends from Purdue Filipino Association (PFA).

pfa-group-1.jpeg

PFA is both a cultural and social student-led organization that encourages students from all backgrounds to learn about Filipino and Filipino American culture.

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