The Strategic Asian and Pacific Islander Retention Initiative is one of four identity-conscious student-centered success initiatives at the University of California, Davis. This initiative launched on May 15, 2020 with the hiring of the inaugural director, Noel Salunga, Ed.D. In its second year, the initiative officially changed their name on July 27, 2021 to include 'and' in order to be most inclusive of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. In spring 2022, the initiative announced its second director Katherine 'Kat' Parpana, M.A. The initiative continues to expand the team to include scholar leadership cohorts comprised of community organizers, undergraduate fellows, research interns, and volunteers.
Within the first-year of the program, the SAandPIRI engaged with various Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander student populations at UC Davis through one-on-one support and multiple community events.
The initiative came into existence because of the student, faculty, and staff who advocated for representation and student services dedicated to the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. The initiative continues to grow because of the continuous support by the academic and student affairs partners, and most importantly, the scholars.