On December 1, 2018, students in History 253H: Asian/Pacific/American History presented their oral history projects at the UMass Center in Springfield. The activity was the culmination of a semester’s honors course on learning about the history of Asian Americans, as well as the concepts and methods of civic engagement. For the oral history project, students interviewed members of the Bhutanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Cambodian American communities in Western Massachusetts, to preserve and honor the lives of members of these underserved Asian American communities.
A new addition to this semester’s project was the videotaping of interviews. Interviewees, their families, and members of the communities were able to view these 20-minute videos at the event. In addition to other community members, the chair and officers of the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Councilor Jesse Lederman of the city of Springfield attended the presentation and expressed their support. This course was made possible through the generous financial support of the history department, Commonwealth Honors College, the UMass Civic Engagement and Service Learning Program, and the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The videos are uploaded to the Special Collection and Archives Division of the Du Bois Library and are available to the public.