Society diversity

The Asian Culture Society celebrates the new year

Sarah Shelton Feature Editor

Lunar New Year is a celebration of the new year on the traditional lunisolar calendar.

On February 9, students, faculty and staff dropped into Engleman B121 to celebrate the 2022 Lunar New Year.

“I would like to congratulate these students because the organization is active this year and we are able to organize this event for you”, announced the director of multicultural affairs Dian Brown-Albert at the start of the event.

The Asian Culture Society became part of the university’s Multicultural Center last semester. Before everyone started with the handicrafts brought by the Multicultural Center, Dr. Yan Quan Liu gave a few words.

“I have been here for over 20 years. So, old man here. I just wanted to give you all a heads up and ask for your support and participation in an effort that some faculty, staff, and students are putting together. We started together last year as a reaction to all the anti-Asian hate crimes happening all over the world, not just in America,” Liu said. “This year we’re coming together and doing something that we hope Southern as a community can come together and participate in. We’re going to create an installation and maybe a few installations on paper cranes that we’ll string together using a lot of different colored origami papers and showing the diversity of our student body, faculty and staff and just the diversity of our community population.

Liu said he hoped everyone there, not just Asian teachers and students, but also their allies,

created these paper cranes to promote diversity and share their culture.

“What we hope to do is raise awareness against these Asian hate crimes, but also against hate crimes in general. We want to celebrate diversity. We want to celebrate the fact that we are not going to tolerate such instances of hate near our home and we are going to promote inclusivity, diversity and love for all,” Liu said.

Packaged food from Hing Wah ready for distribution at the Lunar New Year event on February 9|Sarah Shelton

Sociology major Elijah Ortiz, a senior who works for the Multicultural Center, said it was meant to be a mix-and-match event, not a formal event. They had a student and secretary of the Asian Culture Society, Justin Esmer, who sang while the students received red envelopes, made paper cranes and received food while a PowerPoint played in the background.

“This event was, first of all, to create awareness that we have a new organization, so we have them here, just kind of like a mixing event, it’s supposed to be a social event, but it’s It has a very good turnout. So it’s more than just a social event. So I’m really happy about that,” Ortiz said. “I think it’s important because we’ve really ignored our Asian students. on our campus, so it was important to have this group and to have this event and for it to be as big as it is.”

Ortiz said they would string and hang the origami cranes on campus to show solidarity as allies and unity as Asian students on campus.

“They also have these red envelopes for Lunar New Year, and they have a little paper to write your intentions on. And you put it in, and then you open it next year,” Ortiz said.

IT major Oliver Polica, a senior, said he was there to learn about the culture, the celebration and to support his Asian friends.

“I want to know what the culture is doing for the lunar celebration,” Polica said.

Although the Asian Culture Society is a newer association, Brown-Albert and Ms. June Cheng have been organizing this event for years.

“We teamed together for about 15 years,” Brown-Albert said.

Cheng mentions that it’s the year of the tiger and how she recently found stuff from 12 years ago of the same tiger event.

Due to COVID-19, they had to order prepackaged food and no one was allowed to eat in the room, but that didn’t disappoint. They even ordered from a new restaurant that the students wanted to try.

“Today we tried a new thing, I can’t remember the name, it’s a new restaurant we never ordered from, but they wanted to try something different. It’s like chicken with fries, but different kinds of Korean-style chicken,” Brown-Albert said. “That part is easy, because restaurants work with us all the time. So the tricky part is COVID and how you navigate food, especially with a big party like this, but we’re able to work with the restaurants provided the prepackaged boxes and everything.

Brown-Albert said she was not surprised by the high turnout at the event

“Honestly, because every year when we do this, we don’t have as many events like this for and by Asian culture, so it’s become a standout event,” Brown-Albert said. “So when students, faculty, staff hear it’s the Lunar New Year celebration, they want to participate because we don’t really have many more opportunities, we need more, to celebrate. Asian culture, so I knew we would have a good turnout.

Brown Albert said she hopes the students will make sure they are good for everyone.

“I just wish everyone a blessed and happy New Year, and I hope that continues,” Brown-Albert said. “Spread the love.”

Red envelopes and sweets given out at the February 9 event | Sarah Shelton