Our Mission is to share the rich traditions of Filipinos and facilitate social and political growth within the George Mason University Community. FCA became a recognized organization at George Mason in 1994. The organization started out with a handful of people who wanted to spread the Filipino culture into the George Mason University community. Throughout the years, the organization has grown from a handful to one of the largest general body organizations at Mason.
FCA has grown larger in population and more diverse within the last few years. Today FCA is one of the largest and most diverse cultural associations. FCA today has made a name for its organization and will continue to forge its way to be the best organization on campus.
Fun Fact: The Tagalog word “Pamilya” is what has defined FCA for many years: A FAMILY.
The goal is one breath.
It’s amazing sometimes how the mind can “see” so much more than the eyes. In my mind, once again I see the top floor of GMU’s Fenwick Library. That’s where it all began. Seven strangers, seven bodies, seven minds, seven different visions, coming together and willing to work towards a common goal. There had been talk and ideas before that point about starting up a Filipino organization. But for the first time words and ideas would be followed up by action. It was like trying to compare day to night; there is no comparison.
GL, DM, JG, MS, WS, AM, AG. Seven would would later be known as the “Founding Fathers” but were actually composed of five men and two women. Now is not the time or place for credit and praise but the actions speak for themselves–11 years later the Filipino Cultural Association (FCA) of GMU is still around and thriving.
Something that’s never been asked: What was the FCA like in the beginning? As far as I know this is somethnig that has never been documented. There is no written “History of the GMU FCA” to talk about. What I would like passed on though is the reflection of how much effort went into just getting to Ground Zero. Simply starting a student organization involved the same elements and processes as starting a business. First, and most important, a Vision was needed of why the organization should be created. Second, the sometimes cumbersome process of documenting the organization into existence had to take place. Third, the clients or members had to be involved–and willingly, mind you. Fourth, a business concept called “going concern”, meant that the organization itself had to be able to continue indefinitely even after the Founders have moved on to other directions.
The first few meetings definitely increased awareness of the Filipino population on campus. Bringing together so many people meant that for every hourly FCA meeting there would be another two or three hours of planning. It meant creating icebreakers that would bring together the Northern Virginia Filipinos with the Virginia Beach Filipinos. It also meant bringing together the Filipinos who’d only been in the States a few months with Filipino-Americans who had never been back home.
Leadership was important to us. It meant not only being responsible for the well-being of others but also having the foresight to surround ourselves with others who were willing to sacrifices instant gratification and instead work on planting the seeds of progress. Just as businesses aren’t always profitable in the first year, the organization never lost sight of its Founders’ visions and the FCA’s first Culture Night didn’t occur until years later–years after I left.
With that being said, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. I’m proud of everyone who’s ever been involved with the FCA. Altough the FCA is a different animal now than when it first started, there are no regrets to speak of and the original Vision is still there. There will always be the memories and the experiences that live on in what the mind sees. There were seven leaders that fateful today in Fenwick Library. No regrets.
Finally I surface my senses overcome my thoughts as I hear the water splash, see the surface water break, smell the chemicals in the air, and feel the water droplets fall from my skin.
And I breathe again…
David Morales (FCA Co-founder)