Community Service & Social Justice

In keeping with the Mission Statement of Asian American Studies, both faculty and students are expected to serve the community. Photos show some of our students and faculty “at work” in the community.

AAS faculty, both past and present, have long been community activists in the pursuit of racial equality, social justice, and community self-determination. Just as faculty in the past joined the Third World Liberation Front at SF State to establish the College of Ethnic Studies in 1968-69, today they continue to fight for relevant affordable education, to strength our community institutions, and to give voice to marginalized groups. One successful accomplishment was to organize with other community groups in 2010 to incorporate Ethnic Studies in the San Francisco Unified School District.


Five AAS courses have been designated as Community Learning Service courses (View more details about Community Learning Service at SF State University):

  • AAS 323: Chinese American Identities
  • AAS 512: Asian American Children’s/Adolescent Literature
  • AAS 595: Asian American Communities and Public Policy
  • AAS 681: Asian American Community Changes and Development
  • AAS 697: Proseminar in Asian American Studies

The following are examples of some community service projects done in AAS classes:

In the Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage class (AAS 301, formerly 550), students have produced storybooks about Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage to fundraise for a summer program serving children of mixed heritage.

In AAS 323, students have worked with the Chinese Progressive Association, NICOS, and the Community Youth Center. Helping out at local events such as the Chinese Community Health Fair, they conducted evaluations of job training programs and health outreach. In addition, they have assisted in researching the economic status of families living in single-room occupancy hotels.

In AAS 512, students have worked with The Association of Chinese Teachers (TACT) by using their research and creative skills to write one-page Asian American biographies for elementary school children. Please view photo galleries of student work and participation.

In AAS 595, students have engaged with refugees from Burma and Bhutan, Mongolian undocumented families, and residents of the Bayview Hunter’s Point. Working with local organizations, the class conducted needs assessments of these groups. Their reports have been used for strategic planning, grant writing, and community education. Not-for-profit organizations have raised over $350,000 in funds by using the data collected from this class.

Community service in the department is not confined to undergraduate classes, as Professor Jeung’s graduate seminar on Public Policy (AAS 865) worked with over twenty organizations in the past decade to produce policy reports. This community-based participatory research has resulted in publication in journals such as theJournal for Asian American Studies and Chinese America: History and Perspectives.

Finally, AAS students have volunteered in Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP). This organization’s mission is to develop a space where education, ethnic studies, art, and community service can be fused together to achieve social justice for Filipina/o Americans and similarly marginalized communities. PEP began as a project supported by AAS Access and Retention Funds to form a partnership between San Francisco Unified School District and SF State University. In 2001, it piloted the school district’s first Filipino American Experience course at Balboa High School that allowed AAS undergraduate and graduate students to teach this semester-long course. PEP has now grown and branched out to become an independent organization under the Filipino Community Center where AAS students, past and present, continue to play an integral role.

Read Professor Jeung’s article, “To Serve the Community: The Fourth Decade of Community Service Learning at Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University,” for more details about Community Service Learning in Asian American Studies classes.


Below is a partial listing of past Asian American not-for-profit organizations where AAS students, past and present, have interned and/or volunteered:

  • ALAY/Kabataan
  • All Power to the People Archives
  • Asian American Recovery Services
  • Asian American Women Artist Association
  • Asian Health Services
  • Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center
  • Asian Youth Prevention Services
  • Babae Healthy Relationships Women’s Services
  • Bayanihan Center
  • Bill Sorro Housing Project
  • Bindlestiff Studio
  • Chinatown Public Health Center
  • Chinese Community Development Center
  • Chinese Culture Center
  • Chinese Historical Society of America
  • Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network (DVAN)
  • Filipino Advocates for Jusice
  • Filipino Community Center
  • Japanese Community Youth Center
  • Japanese Culture and Community Center of Northern California
  • Korean Community Center of the East Bay
  • Liwanag Kultural Center
  • Manilatown Heritage Foundation
  • National Japanese American Historical Society
  • NICOS Health Coalition
  • Philippine Bayanihan Resource Center
  • Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP)
  • San Francisco Korean Center, Inc.
  • South East Asian Cultural Heritage and Musial Performing Arts (SEACHAMPA)
  • The Association of Chinese Teachers (TACT)
  • Veterans Equity Center
  • Vietnamese Youth Development Center

TACT-AAS Biography/Curriculum Project

In 2010, The Association of Chinese Teachers (TACT) published Crossing Boundaries: Asian and Pacific Islander Americans by Irene Dea Collier and Lora Meilin Collier, and illustrated by Janine Macbeth.* From this book sprung the TACT-AAS Biography/Curriculum Project where AAS students at San Francisco State University work with TACT members to continue adding more APIA biographies to the ones already published. The final goal is to create a website of APIA biographies and curriculum units for K-12 teachers to use in their classrooms. In AY 2012-13, under the supervision of Professors Laureen Chew (AAS 699), Lorraine Dong (AAS 512), and Jeannie Woo (AAS 320, 510), students created K-12 biographies and curriculum units. Some of these works were presented at the Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Celebration at Merced Public Library (2013) and the Main Library (2014) (see photo gallery below).

*For copies of Crossing Boundaries, please contact Irene Dea Collier at, with the subject heading, “Crossing Boundaries.”