On-campus talent show encourages students to vote
To encourage more Asian Americans to vote, Pi Delta Psi fraternity at UCF is hosting a talent show on Oct. 3.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the Culture Shock talent show will be held inside the Nicholson School of Communication, room 101. The grand-prize winner will receive $300, and the second-place prize is $100. One of the goals of the event is to increase cultural awareness and bring together a diverse community of people who work to overcome stereotypes.
Ricky Ly, national philanthropy chair for Pi Delta Psi fraternity, said this is the first time the fraternity has put on this talent show. The expected audience is upward of 400, and about 200 are anticipated to register to vote.
"About 37 percent of Asian Americans chose 'Too busy, conflicting work or school schedule,' as a reason for not voting, compared with about one-in-four Hispanics, whites and blacks … With an estimated 9 million eligible voters in 2014, the Asian-American electorate for this fall's midterm elections makes up 4% of all eligible voters," according to Pew Research Center.
Asian American youth are statistically the least likely group to vote out of all groups in the U.S. This is largely due to the history of their ancestors, said Ly, a UCF alumnus.
"Asian Americans in the U.S. weren't a really big community until after about 1945," said Ly, one of the 10 founding brothers of the Pi Delta Psi chapter at UCF. "Before that, there were immigration policies, which hindered Asian American immigration to the U.S. Also, a second thing is language barrier … We're trying to have a voice for the Asian American community and make sure they practice their right to vote."
Until 1943, when China allied with the U.S. against Japan during World War II, the Chinese Exclusion Act made it hard for Asians to come to America and they were under represented until that time. Ly said stereotypes, such as Asians being quieter, might cause some to shy away from voting, too.
"To us, it's a problem because [Asians] have the quickest growing demographics as well," said Kevin Cheng, head of public relations for the fraternity, who will be helping arrange and run the event.
SGA president Weston Bayes and Orange County property appraiser Rick Singh will be judges for the dance competition. The fraternity won a $500 grant from APIAVote — a national organization that promotes voting among Asians — and the fraternity is one of 10 in the country that got the grant, said Ly.
"They're working on civic engagement and making sure different populations are getting registered to vote," said Bayes, a senior majoring in political science at UCF. "I hope that by myself being there, that shows the support I have for this and any support that SGA can give them as well … It should definitely be interesting to see a diverse perspective on talent."
Culture Shock is a collaborative event with the partnership of Pi Delta Psi with UCF's Asian Pacific American Coalition, Filipino Student Association, Vietnamese American Student Association, Chinese American Student Association, Korean Student Association, Sangam Indian Student Association, Delta Phi Lambda Sorority Inc, Delta Phi Omega Sorority and Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity.
But having an Asian heritage isn't a requirement to enter the talent show, said Cheng, a senior majoring in psychology and finance at UCF.
"It's definitely open to different organizations," Cheng said. "We're going to have performances from Hispanic organizations and you don't even have to be a student — we actually have people from other organizations around the Orlando community."
Those interested can visit pdpsiucf.com for more information about the upcoming event.