Students may already know this week’s Gustie of the Week as “the guy with the camera.”
“I got better and better at taking photos and I think at one point I kind of became synonymous with the camera, like ‘he’s the dude around campus with the camera,’” Junior Luke Yang said.
A Communication Studies major and English minor, Yang dedicates much of his time to photographing events for various student organizations while also being involved in many of them himself. His standout positions include PR director of HACO (Hmong American Cultural Outreach), member of Swing Club, CAB executive, photographer for the Weekly and Co-Presidents of the men’s volleyball club and International Cultures Club.
“I have a lot of hats to wear. I like being a leader and a really good team player, and it’s really reassuring and really comforting to know that people trust me with leadership,” Yang said.
From St. Paul, Yang found his way to Gustavus through his family members, approximately seven of whom have attended Gustavus.
“It’s really cool to have a lot of family come through and then a lot of family friends as well,” Yang said.
His outgoing nature and curiosity fit perfectly with his area of study, to which he found his way after going down several different paths, including Psychology and Business.
“[My first year] I remember taking microeconomics, gen psych, my FTS, and interpersonal communication. That class… I fell in love with [Communication Studies]. The way Com works is that it puts a technical name on things you should know already. Anything from the levels of vulnerability you have with people to identity formation, to all the other stuff. Spring semester of my first year I took intercultural communication and fell even more deeply in love,” Yang said.
He takes a creative and versatile approach to his major to best help it fit his interests.
“I’ve always loved to speak and I’ve kind of always had a goal of being a public speaker or something like that, at least moving people with words whether it be through writing or speaking… I think [Communication Studies] is a very good fit for what I am and the type of person that I am. My major is whatever I make of it; I have a lot of creative endeavors and so I think having a Comm Studies degree could really help with that and I could just apply it wherever I want,” Yang said.
This creativity has been useful to him during the pandemic, keeping him looking forward to the future.
“I have my eyes set on creative endeavors and we’ll see what happens in the next year and a half. But until then I’m just enjoying my time as a Gustie and trying to create as many memories and start up as many groundbreaking things or foundational things as I can here,” Yang said.
In his CAB position, he has learned valuable lessons about adaptability and making the most of things this semester.
“It has been a really great learning process for CAB to see that this can still be a premier leadership opportunity; we can still do a lot of stuff for the campus and especially the first years,” Yang said.
He also sees this situation as an ideal moment to reflect and connect with others.
“In an ever-connecting world we must all do our part to become better allies to each other and navigate our differences in a better way. I know that differences may seem kind of scary but difference means that you only have something to learn from someone else. Diversity really just means difference in one way. So if someone’s different from you, that’s how you experience diversity in the world. You’re not going to experience diversity only if they’re from across the sea, you’re going to experience diversity if they’re a different age than you, come from a different culture, etc. So we must all do our part to become better allies,” Yang said.
For now, he’s keeping busy writing poetry, taking pictures and using his leadership to impact those on campus and assure them that things will calm down.
“You’ll get through it, you’ll find a way around it, just keep your cool. But easier said than done with COVID. Everyone’s stressed in every which way and at different levels and so the best thing we can do is just be there for each other and watch out for ourselves. Care for yourself so you can take care of others,” Yang said.