by Ja Young, Alumni Editor
Former PUSO President ('04-05)
Steve Raga got his first award at Stony Brook ten years ago (Campus Life
Leadership) and the accolades haven't stopped coming since - from the
TOFA-NY to be given out next month, the Community Service Award from the
Pan-America Citizens Civic Action League last month, nominated for a 40
Under 40 SB Alumni Association Award to be chosen later this fall - and
he even ended last year on the Top 10 Sexiest Filipino's in the
Tri-State area list
from The FilAm Magazine. And that's just in the past twelve months.
"It's pretty cool that this whole thing started in the SAC" was Steve's
comment when we sent congratulations. As an undergrad at the Brook,
Steve rose up to become President of PUSO, the Philippine United
Students Organization, and then was Senior Advisor to ASA in his last
year. His penchant for social justice was evident in PUSOFest 2005 where
the show was used to teach Filipino history along with giving the
audience a good time.
Below is a link to a review of that PUSOFest describing how they were
able to do it so successfully. By blending the pathos of war with
interspersions of love or comedy, the history they were teaching was
enjoyable to watch. That is something PUSO has continued to this day - a
PUSOfest 2005 viewable as
a jpg or downloadable as
As a grad student, first at Stony Brook (M.A. Public Policy, '08) and
later at Cornell Law, Steve continued both his leadership involvement
and garnering well deserved awards. He was Co-President of the Society
for Asian American Graduate Affairs (SAAGA) - and National Chairperson
the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue that
unites Filipino college student organizations - while also being honored
as Most Outstanding Graduate Student at Cornell.
Steve's student leadership roles led him to
found Filipino American Civic
Engagement (FACE), where he served as National Chairman, and UniPro as
its founding President.
Steve's TOFA-NY Award will
be for Community Service and Advocacy. He is currently NY State Chair of
the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA),
Board Chair of Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro), and
Director for Community Affairs at the Forest Hills Asian Association.
The award notes that "Steven
has had many distinguished
postings with socio-civic institutions in the Asian Pacific Islander
American community and is a true advocate of immigration reform,
veterans' equity, migrant rights, and good governance."
At next month's TOFA-NY Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall, Steve will
join the ranks of such noted Filipino's as
Tony winners Lea Salonga, Bobby
Lopez, and Jhett Tolentino, Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas,
fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, transgender activist Geena Rocero,
and multi-awarded seasoned journalist Sheila Coronel.
are selected out of hundreds nominated by the community," said Elton
Lugay, founder of TOFA-NY Awards. The Awards were created to give
recognition to organizations and individuals who have raised the profile
of Filipino Americans in the New York tri-state area.
In his professional career he is just as involved in helping as in his
volunteer roles. First as a National Urban Fellow at AARP's D.C. headquarters,
Steve is now a Multicultural Leadership Consultant for AARP's Asian
American and Pacific Islander national audience. Through AARP, more than
$1 million was donated for disaster relief in the Philippines after
And Steve has obviously raised the profile of Filipino Americans in
other ways as well. Here's what was said in the sexiest men article:
"Instead of coming up with the Top 10 stories for the year, The FilAm
decided to run a list of the 10 Sexiest Filipino Men in metropolitan New
York..." "The names came pouring in..." "In the end, what was revealing
was not so much who made the list but the ladies' definition of what
constitutes "Filipino sexy." Brains and brawn mattered...." "The way a
man holds his hat is sexy, being articulate is sexy, power is sexy."
Steven Raga is sexy.
we'll all get to see Steve at the Forty Under Forty Awards in a few
months. He has been nominated for the Alumni Association's newest
awards, started last year, to recognize up and coming alumni who have
already made a difference. Steve definitely has done that!
2015's Outstanding Filipinos in NY Named
2) Filipino Express:
A Leader Who Serves the Asians First
3) The FilAm:
10 Sexiest Filipinos in the N.Y. Tri-State