In the fall of 1999, an ad hoc committee of the 1999-2000 Asian Pacific Student Coalition board launched a campus-wide campaign for a Pan-Asian American resource center. The SPEAKOUT! Rally was organized to gain support and publicity for this initiative. Petitions were also circulated to push for the creation of this resource center.

On November 15th, 1999 a large group of students demanded a meeting with then President, Dr. Judith Rodin. A declaration from APSC and constituent groups, campus groups, and coalitions was presented for the need of the APA resource center.

A preliminary PAACH proposal was submitted to the University President on November 24. In February, student, staff, and faculty supporters met with the President to discuss the implementation of the proposal. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Office of the President committed to the establishment of the Pan Asian American Community House at Penn.

The Grand Opening of PAACH was on November 11th, 2000 – only a year after the SPEAKOUT! Rally, and PAACH signature programs soon followed.

  • Planning for the Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative started in the spring of 2001, with the first class assembled for Fall 2001.
  • The Promoting Enriching Experiences & Relationships (PEER) Mentoring Program was developed in 2002 to meet the needs of incoming APIA students.
  • The first Conference for Achievement Through Asian Pacific Undergraduate Leadership Training (CATAPULT) retreat was organized as a collaborative project between PAACH and the Asian Pacific Student Coalition in April 2003.
  • The Asian Students Promoting Identity, Reflection, and Education (ASPIRE) high school outreach program, formerly Asian Pacific Americans Tackling Identity Through Education (APA-TITE), began as an informal collaboration between PAACH and Central Philadelphia High School. The program was refocused in 2008 to be more student-driven and led.
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, established in 1993, celebrated its 20th heritage week in 2012 with the theme "20/20 Vision".
  • The Asian American Mentoring Program  (AAMP) was started in 2012  to provide opportunities for graduate students to engage with the undergraduate community. AAMP has produced programs such as the South Asian Men's Circle, South Asian Women's Circle, and the Chinese Student Support Network. 

In an effort to strengthen its ties with the graduate student community, PAACH developed the Asian American Mentoring Program (AAMP) in 2012. As a result of this program, PAACH piloted the South Asian Men's Circle, the South Asian Women's Circle, and the Chinese Student Support Network (CSSN).

The ARCH Building began a complete 18-month long renovation in May 2012 thanks to an anonymous donation. During the renovation period, all three ARCH cultural resource centers were relocated to Houston Hall, with collaborative programming supported by funding from the President's Office. PAACH, Makuu, and La Casa Latina moved back into new ARCH spaces in December 2013.