Hmong Student Association of Carolina
The Hmong Student Association of Carolina is a student organization at UNC-Chapel Hill founded in 2001 under the mentorship of Dr. Rachel Willis that endeavors to promote and educate the community about Hmong culture. HSAC welcomes Hmong and non-Hmong students and community members to join them each year for socio-culture events, exhibits, and community service.As the first Hmong collegiate student organization in North Carolina, HSAC also aims to promote higher education among young Hmong people. Only a reported 7% of Hmong have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and about 30% of Hmong families in the US live below the poverty level. Each year, HSAC organizes a Carolina tour for high school students in the Catawba Valley region and other metropolitan areas in NC to encourage students of low socioeconomic backgrounds to explore their options in higher education.
Who We Are
The Hmong people originate from the mountainous regions of Mainland China. Due to constant territorial wars, many Hmong immigrated southward into Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian countries where Hmong people live include Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, where they live a predominantly agricultural lifestyle.
During the Vietnam War, Hmong General Vang Pao of the Royal Lao Army led the Hmong in support of the US. After the US retreat from Vietnam, the Hmong people suffered a genocide committed by the Viet Cong, and many fled by crossing the Mekong River into Thailand refugee camps that still exist today. A large number of Hmong refugee immigrated to the US in the ’80s, and smaller groups of Hmong refugees continue to make their way to the states and other countries including Canada, France, and Australia. As a result, many Hmong-Americans are from families of refugee immigrants who managed to escape persecution following the Vietnam War.
In 2012, a small group of students created an animated history of the Hmong people and their journey to America and ultimately North Carolina. Check it out!
What We Do
HSAC serves as an educational and social organization that seeks to build community around the Hmong culture. Each year we host social events, such as the Spring Formal and picnics with other Hmong student groups from nearby schools, which all club members are invited to attend. In addition, we take part in many cultural events on campus and perform community service work.
- Asian Student Association’s Journey into Asia
- UNC Hospitals Multicultural Fair
- Southeast Asia Interest Association’s Mae Sot Annual Benefit Dinner
- Global Health Panel
- UNC Wellness Carnival
- Carolina Asia Center’s Chinese New Year
- UNC Lambdas’ Asian Night Market
- Ronald McDonald House
- Habitat for Humanity
- IFC Men’s Shelter
- HSAC Carolina Spring Tour
If you’re interested in inviting HSAC to an event or asking for volunteers for a service project, you can find our contact information here.
Carolina Spring Tour
The annual Carolina Spring Tour is one of our major events of the spring semester and our largest educational outreach event. The Spring Tour has been hosted each year since the formation of the organization in 2001 and continues to be a principal focus of our yearly activities as we aim to encourage more Hmong youth to pursue higher education.
Hosted on the first Saturday of April, the tour is aimed primarily at Hmong students, but is open to any interested high schooler. The cost is $5 and covers lunch and transportation from the Hickory-Catawba area to UNC-Chapel Hill. This all-day event includes a tour of the main campus and classes covering subjects such as college admissions, financial aid, and student life.
If you would like to support HSAC by sending a monetary donation or simply contact us for another reason, you can do so at the following address and email.
Hmong Student Association of Carolina
237 FPG Student Union
UNC-CH Campus Box 5210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599