Asian American Student Union

Kyle Casey Chu, 24, performs at the 10th annual Mr. and Ms. AASU Pageant on Monday night. Chu is famous for being crowned Hyphen Magazine’s Mr. Hyphen 2010.

This year, the Asian American Student Union’s monthlong heritage celebration will brighten the lives of the underprivileged.

The organization kicked off its 19th annual Asian Kaleidoscope Month celebrations Oct. 2.

The celebrations, which will center around the theme of “Illuminate,” will include community service opportunities, entertainers, fashion shows, lectures, panels and workshops.

The monthlong celebration, which will end Nov. 2, aims to raise $2,000 for A Liter of Light, a project that brings portable lighting to low-income homes across the globe.

“We are dedicated to shedding light on various Asian and Asian-American issues, and their project is dedicated to bringing light into the lives of millions,” said Michael Satyapor, an economics senior and assistant director for Asian Kaleidoscope Month.

“All of the events show the different sides of Asian-Americans,” said Sabrina Chan-Pong, a 21-year-old UF marketing senior and co-programming director for the event series, “so people that come out can see that we’re more than just the stereotypes.”

The month is set up with five main events — an opening ceremony, a scholarship pageant, a fashion show, a talent show, an Asian food festival and a closing ceremony.

The opening ceremony had about 300 attendees, Chan-Pong said.

There are nine smaller events throughout the month, including a day of community service with Habitat for Humanity and an LGBTQ panel.

For the kickoff, the Asian American Student Union brought several well-known Asian-American entertainers to UF, including Ryan Takemiya, founder of a Pan-Asian arts-and-entertainment organization called RAMA, Seattle-based band New Heights and Kelly Tsai, an Asian-American spoken-word artist from Brooklyn.

“This is an amazing opportunity for everyone at UF to meet these people, hear their stories and hear how diverse our community is,” she said.