Our History

The Philippine Student Association (PSA) was founded in 1919, originally under the name Philippine Illini. The objective of the organization was to “help new Filipino students to get started in school, entertain Filipino visitors on campus, aid other students to understand the Filipinos and boost Illinois in the Philippines”.

The original mission statement of the Philippine Illini goes as follows:

“To render assistance in any way possible to Filipinos coming to the University of Illinois”

The Philippine Illini started with 22 active members  and was the first Asian American organization on the UIUC campus, eventually giving rise to the many Asian American interest groups that exist today. As an integral part of the APIDA campus community, PSA helped build the Asian American Cultural Center, pushed for the creation of the Asian American Studies Department, and continues to work with the University YMCA to showcase global engagement and education.

The Philippine Illini, founded in 1919

A 1921 Illio group photo of the Philippine Illini student organization. From: Illini Everywhere: Filipino Illini, Since 1905 (Student Life and Culture Archives)

Community

Since its creation, PSA has expanded to become one of the largest Asian-interest organizations on campus, with over 150 members joining PSA in the 2019-2020 school year. Over time, 1000+ alumni have been members of PSA, with many coming back after graduation to celebrate their PSA lineage! Even over a century later, the idea of Filipino-American culture is stronger than ever on the U of I campus.

Throughout the years, PSA has introduced new events and programs and formed strong relationships with external organizations that have lasted to this day. These events and organizations include:

  • First Fashion Show (1985)
  • PSA joined the Asian Pacific American Coalition (1990s)
  • Introduction of the Ate/Kuya Program (1993)
  • Creation of the Awareness Chair (1994)
  • Creation of the Webmaster Chair (2003)
  • Establishment of AACC (2005)
  • Creation of the Fil-Amthropy Chair (May 2006)
  • PSA joins MAFA (Spring 2007)
  • PSA introduces the first Filipino Culture Night (Feb. 2013)

PSA is committed to continuing its mission of fostering relationships through the education and awareness of Filipino identity and culture. You can read about our current mission here and what we do on campus today.