TOP 30: Patrick Le

Patrick Manh Le
Major: International Studies / Political Science
Year: 4th
Age: 21
Hometown: Angers, France
In One Word: Adventurer

Patrick Manh Le was born in France, and after 6 years, literally moved all across the world. Some of the places he lived were Vietnam, Italy, Netherlands, and, most importantly, Madagascar. While living in Madagascar for 9 years, he experienced first hand the living conditions and community development his parents were working on. When he was 16, he moved to the United States, and after high school, began school here at UCI. It was in the United States he saw not only the opportunities and things to be done, but he also saw the staggering problems that still exist here in America. He noticed poverty and the fact that some people didn’t have the opportunity to go to college due to financial reasons, and soon got into activism. The big belief that ran his life was that education is a right and a privilege.

As the current Executive Vice President of ASUCI, Patrick can be found fighting for the affordability, accessibility, and quality of higher education.

Patrick hopes to make education more accessible and affordable for all, and to be a part of improving diversity on campus.

Patrick’s passion is almost contagious, affecting individuals like Jonathan Contreras, who recalls hearing “Patrick give one of the most inspirational speeches [he has] ever had the blessing to listen to…[Patrick’s] articulation and presence makes you want to BE better. He makes [him] want to do everything [he] can do to make a difference in the world.” Jonathan believes “he is instrumental in UCI’s actions towards global innovation and more importantly, changing lives.”

KS: What have you accomplished here on campus, and what do you hope to accomplish?

PL: In my four years in student government, I led a lot of forums, town halls, and protests against tuition hikes. I’m currently still on the project, but we’re about to wrap it up – it’s to revamp the financial aid process both on campus and statewide, making the financial aid process more accessible. I also did a lot of work with the University of California Student Association (UCSA). This year we organized a couple conferences to bring UC students to a statewide conference, UCSA congress, where we brought students from all across the state to discuss the issues. The campaign that I proposed was to find alternative funding for the University of California, because in the face of cuts, increasing tuition fees, we needed to find more money from the state for our schools. They adopted that campaign, and that became the campaign of the year for the UCs. We also registered over 2000 students to vote, really increasing student power. We organized one of the largest protests in Sacramento, this past March, and we organized with the other UCs and other Cal States, bringing thousands of students. We got campus of the year award from UCSA for our efforts in activism.  I think this year we did a lot of work to defeat the myth that UC Irvine is apathetic. We showed that students do care, and we provided opportunities for those to get involved. I think for the first time, Irvine students really got mobilized and activated on issues that are really important, so I think that was the biggest accomplishment of our office this year.

KS: Who or what do you feel is the biggest influence on you?

PL: Probably my mentors. I had incredible mentors in my college career. Denice Velez at the Cross Cultural Center, Sandy Jones at student government . I do have to mention my best friend who’s been an incredible influence on me – Traci Ishigo. She had an incredible impact on my life…I was very angry through my college career about all the things that our communities went through, and I think these people, my friends, were able to put it into context and turn this anger into positive energy. I think by having these mentors, these friends, that say “hey it doesn’t have to be this way”, I think really defined my activism, and I owe them a lot. I owe them so much. Previous mentors also, Sarah Bana, the EVP two years ago – this incredible leadership really defines me.

KS: How have you been involved with the Asian Pacific Islander Community?

PL: I worked as the campus outreach intern at the Cross Cultural Center, so I had the chance to work with a lot of different cultural organizations on campus. I got to work on really cool events like Rainbowfest, Martin Luther King Symposium, and I really hope to be part of improving diversity on campus. For me, specifically it was about being able to bring critical discussion about API issues. When we were at the Students of Color Conference, my objective was to bring as many communities from the Cross Cultural Center into our delegation to be able to engage in critical discussion, and I interacted a lot with different API communities to bring them to the space and talk about campus climate. This year, I also created, along with the student region designated – a campus climate committee – it’s a student led committee to address racism in the UCs. It’s not only for the API community, but also for communities of color, to be able to talk about the state of campus climate. I think that’s not only applicable to API communities, but to all communities of color – that there’s still huge problems of toxic campus climate in the UCs and I was hoping to bring critical discussion as to how we can fix that. So for that committee, we bring students from all different UCs from different perspectives together, and we talk about how we can fix campus climate. We also engaged a lot with law enforcement on our campus. We had a couple town halls with police to talk about issues of police brutality in our communities and the role of law enforcement at UC Irvine, and the relationship between student activism and law enforcement. Also, Kababayan was one of my home organizations – I was in Kababayan Culture Night – probably one of the greatest experiences that I’ve ever had.

KS: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose, and why?

PL: My mom’s lasagna. Oh God! So good.

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    Asian Pacific-Islander Heritage Month (APIHM) is hosted by the Asian Pacific Student Association at UCI and features various programs, workshops, and events that celebrate the APIA culture and address pertinent issues in the APIA community.

    Please refer to the tabs above for more details regarding each event.

  • Contact Us

    Any inquiries regarding Asian Pacific-Islander Heritage Month can be directed to Programming Coordinators, Siamrath (Sam) Boonsakul and Alison Tominaga, at

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