ASUW: Pacific Islander Student Commission

Who We Are

The History of the Pacific Islander Student Commission

In advocacy of pursuit of higher education, cultural awareness and community empowerment!

The Pacific Islander Student Commission was started in the late 1990’s, when Pasifik Islander students at the University of Washington started a movement to create a new ASUW commission that would serve a growing Pasifik Islander student population. The students from Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and the Philippines felt that the existing Asian Student Commission did not address the needs of their cultures and sought to identify ways in which a new commission would provide greater support for their communities. Then, in culmination of these students hard work and determination, on March 9th, 2000, the ASUW Board of Directors passed BOD BILL #002, which created the Pacific Islander Student Commission (PISC), and a legacy for Pasifika students at the University of Washington.

As a part of the Associated Students of Washington (ASUW), PISC is made up of the nine collaborative and collective communities of Pasifika here on the University of Washington’s campus: API Cares, AnakBayan Seattle, the Filipino American Student Association (FASA), Hui Hoaloha ‘Ulana, Micronesian Islands Club (M.I.C.), Pi Nu Iota sorority, Pacific Islander Opportunity Network for Educational Equality and Representation (P.I.O.N.E.E.R.), Pacific Islander Partnerships in Education (P.I.P.E.), and the Polynesian Student Alliance (P.S.A.). Our diverse membership welcomes Pasifik Islander people from all walks of life, and we strive to increase cultural awareness and empowerment through political, educational, and social events. PISC aims to raise awareness and empower change for Pasifik Islander issues and identity, and to increase solidarity amongst our various island communities. We also hope to provide the rich support and resources for Pasifik Islander students’ success and growth here.

Although our home islands in Pasifika are thousands of miles away from Seattle, we maintain the spirit and community values within ourselves as we navigate through the vast ocean of higher education. Join us in our canoe journeys as we reach our destination of a more empowered future.

We are many. We are one. We are Pasifika!

-Santino Camacho, PISC Director 2016-2017

Director

Katrina Salazar Punzalan (Kat), is a junior majoring in Law, Societies, and Justice and American Ethnic Studies. She was born and raised on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to Filipino migrant workers. She moved to Seattle in 2015 in pursuit of a higher education at the University of Washington. In her first year, she served as a Programming intern for the ASUW Queer Student Commission in hopes of creating safer spaces for LGBTQ+ identified Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. In her second year, she became heavily involved with several of the Pacific Islander RSOs on campus while serving as the lead intern to the 2016-2017 Director of the ASUW Pacific Islander Student Commission, Santino Camacho.

As PISC Director, Kat hopes to push forward with the initiative to create a Pacific Islander Studies program at the UW, create stronger bonds across the various Pacific Islander groups on campus, address intersectional issues that impact marginalized Pacific Islander students, and serve as an open resource for Pacific Islander students. Kat also enjoys music and video games.

You can contact me at asuwpisc@uw.edu or stop by my office hours at the PISC office in ASUW+ HUB131D. It is a really comfortable space with snacks! The Pacific Islander community and I are really friendly and would love to meet you!!

Past PISC Directors

  • Santino G. Camacho 2016-2017
  • Daniele Meñez 2015-2016
  • Carmen Borja 2014-2015
  • Taylor Ahana 2013-2014
  • Chasmon Tarimel 2012-2013
  • Apa’au Talalemotu 2011-2012
  • Natalie Santos 2011-2012
  • Derek Edamura 2010-2011
  • Benjamin Lealofi 2009-2010
  • Mario Teulilo 2008-2009
  • Christina Pelesasa 2008-2009
  • EJ Butin 2007-2008
  • Malaelupe Samifua 2006-2007
  • Patrick Pineda 2005-2006
  • Mavis Tevaga 2004-2005
  • Paulo Pontemayor 2003-2004
  • David Palaita 2002-2003
  • Ane Phillips 2001-2002
  • Vanessa Matautia 2001-2002
  • Michael Tuncap 2000-2001