LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Language, it’s an important part of one’s identity and culture and for the Filipinix American Student Association at UNLV learning Tagalog, the official language, has become a mission.

Jacques Milan is the Cultural & Political Affairs Chair for the Filipinix American Student Association and he said it’s not just about language but preserving your own culture.

“When immigrating a lot of that comes with assimilating and a lot of people had to assimilate and be accustomed to the norms and values of the U.S. culture and part of that is losing your language, especially Tagalog,” Milan explained.

According to UNLV’s website, 18% of faculty and staff identify as and or Pacific Islander and UNLV has over 16% of students who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander.

“I think this is a very important step towards inclusivity,” President Leora Dumanlang said.

This is why Dumanlang said it’s that much more important to bring this language class on campus.

“UNLV has one of the fastest growing Filipino communities in the student world, so it’s kind of surprising as to why we don’t have a Tagalog course already that you could take for a foreign language credit,” Dumanlang explained. “It’s super important for all of our students and those who weren’t able to take a Tagalog course as an option to take.”

Over the past several months, the students have been campaigning to get the word out by speaking to administrators, committees and the community to get involved,  under “Operation Salita” or Operation Speak.

There is currently a petition and Tagalog course survey for the community to partake in.

“Part of that step to gaining that culture again and language is to have that Tagalog course available, not just to people from the Phillippines but to anybody so people are learning about our culture as well,” Milan said.