Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reunions Coverage: Learning to fail at the A4P panel discussion

The necessity of failure was a key theme at “Trailblazers: Perspectives of Asian American Alumni,” a panel discussion this morning in the Whig Hall senate chamber sponsored by the Asian American Alumni Association of Princeton (A4P).

Shaifali Puri ’95, executive director of Scientists Without Borders, proposed a new undergraduate course on failure, noting that many Princeton students are unprepared for taking risks and exploring new options. “[Princeton students] want to try the things after school that have a path, because there are metrics of success,” she explained.

Panelists also discussed the perspective that Asian Americans bring to the changing global landscape, particularly as Asia’s role on the international stage continues to grow. “Maybe we can help bring these two worlds together,” said Steve Sashihara ’80, founder and CEO of Princeton Consultants, Inc.

The panelists agreed that their time at the University deepened their understanding of Asian American identity. Lucy Yang ’85, reporter for ABC-7 Eyewitness News in New York City, grew up in an area with few other Asian Americans. “It was nice to come to Princeton, and meet other Asian-American people,” she said.

“I wasn’t particularly self-conscious about being Asian while at Princeton. I was just one of the students,” said Toshio Hara ’60, founder of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan.

“I shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. That was the first thing I learned at Princeton,” he added.

by Michael Medeiros