The Thai Student Organization offers a new space for BU students
The TSO has become a fun and safe learning space for any student interested in Thai/Thai-American culture.
For just over a year, an organization at Binghamton University has been working tirelessly to make a name for itself within the student community.
Founded in October 2021, the Thai Student Organization (TSO) has joined the ranks of other BU cultural organizations and has become a fun and safe learning space for any student interested in Thai/Thai-American culture. Although the TSO is still relatively new, its Board of Directors has made rapid progress in expanding the group and becoming an official SA-funded organization in a remarkably short period of time.
TSO President Alita Lin, a junior biology student, said the idea for the TSO came to her when she became interested in joining a Thai club on campus, only to realize that there is no didn’t exist. So she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I knew someone who was also interested in starting a Thai club, but I had little relationship with him,” Lin wrote in an email. “Finally I decided to contact him after finding out he was a close mutual friend.”
From there, Lin started talking to friends who were also interested in the club, and things quickly got into gear. The founding members started to build an E-Board, proposing positions and organizing elections.
The newly formed E-Board shared the same ambitions to create a safe haven for students interested in Thai/Thai-American culture which, at that time, did not officially exist in BU.
“We aim to educate our community on the importance of culture and any issues related to Thailand,” Lin said. “Overall, we want to represent a very small population of Thai students at [BU] and surrounding areas of Broome County.
However, the past year has been full of challenges and hard work for Lin and her peers. As is the case with all students wishing to form a club, one of the biggest hurdles TSO E-Board members had to overcome was obtaining a charter.
“We had no prior knowledge of how the clubs were created, so it took a lot of effort to contact the student body first to get all the steps,” Lin said. “We had to get signatures, create events, make a constitution and meet with multiple representatives of the [SA].”
However, the members’ hard work paid off when, in March 2022, the TSO was officially granted an interim charter – which Lin says means they have all the benefits of being an officially chartered organization, except funding exclusion – and are on track to be officially chartered by the by this time next year.
“I would say TSO was chartered much faster than most clubs,” Lin said. “However, all of our E-Board members worked diligently to achieve their charter within one semester.”
In addition to their work to secure a charter, the TSO’s e-Board has also worked to expand the club’s reach and membership, a process Lin describes as “both challenging and rewarding. “.
“As a new club with many members who have no previous experience of being on a [E-Board], we encountered many obstacles along the way,” Lin said. “Sometimes it takes us longer to plan events, organize our meetings, book rooms, etc. However, over time, we have slowly learned to do things efficiently, so there is no not so much trouble.”
Now the club regularly hosts exciting events, from their chicken satay fundraiser to a Thai rom-com horror movie night, and is gaining traction within the student community.
After more than a year of hard work, Lin says that she and her fellow E-Board have formed a close bond with each other, as well as with the general body.
“I can say that the majority of our [E-Board] have become so close, which makes our experiences more entertaining,” Lin said. “We all notice our [general body] who come to our events and try to talk to them so that they feel comfortable and have a good time around TSO.
The TSO has no intention of stopping its impressive growth anytime soon and is already making plans to ensure the continued success of the club. TSO advisor Andrew Zhang, a first-year computer engineering graduate student, attends.
“Our plans for the coming year [are] continue to establish our presence on campus to endorse a space for people interested in Thai culture,” Zhang said. “In addition, we would like to expand our event planning capabilities such as banquets or parties.”
Amy Chen – the TSO’s publicity chair and a second-year psychology student, also described having long-term goals. She hopes to pass on the skills and experience she has developed in her position, which includes creating promotional graphics and posters, to future E-Board members.
“I want to show them through these graphics that you can be innovative and incorporate new ideas into it,” Chen said.
As for this semester, one of the club’s biggest events is just weeks away – the Loy Krathong: Festival of Floating Lights. Anna Chau, TSO social president and junior business administration student, expressed her excitement for the festival, which will be held on November 19.
“This will be one of our biggest events of the semester and everyone has planned and worked really hard to make sure it becomes a success,” Chau said.
Zhang said the event “will showcase different aspects of Thai culture, from its cuisine to different traditional games and activities.”
With just one year under their belt, the TSO have already made incredible progress in growing their club and forming a tight-knit community, and it’s clear they have a bright future ahead of them at BU.