Campus Groups Celebrate Culture, Tradition with Lunar New Year Dinner
By June Pan '13, Managing News Editor
Campus Asian cultural groups celebrated the Lunar New Year with a banquet dinner on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 15. Boasting an attendance of nearly 200, the event began with lines that curled around the second floor of Keefe Campus Center, before the doors opened to admit students into the Friedmann Room for an evening of food, fun and culture.

“The main event was the food itself,” said Minjoo Kim ’13, Chair of the Korean Students Association (KSA).

Students enjoyed a dinner featuring Chinese, Korean and Thai cuisine while watching presentations on the different New Year’s traditions in various Asian countries. A trivia contest followed, based on information from the presentations.

China Awareness Organization (CAO) co-chair Yilin Wang ’14 said the presentations were not meant to be “super serious,” but instead reflective of the atmosphere of a Lunar New Year’s celebration in Asia.

“[The Lunar New Year] is about family and community, having some laughs and being happy about the coming year,” said Wang. “We wanted everyone to have fun and go away with some knowledge of what it’s like.”

Kim agreed that the spirit of the New Year was largely about the comforts of food and family. “On New Year’s day, you just eat a lot.”

Despite the challenges of planning a brand new event within a limited time frame, Kim felt that the dinner was “a success” and hoped that the inaugural Lunar New Year Dinner can grow into an annual event.

The KSA, CAO and the Amherst South Eastern Asian network (ASEAN) jointly hosted Tuesday night’s event with funding from Social Council, Program Board, Keefe Campus Center and the Amherst Association of Students. The Asian Students Association used to throw pan-Asian Lunar New Year’s celebrations, but this has not been the case in recent years; generally, Asian cultural awareness groups on campus each host separate new year’s celebrations.

This year, however, the heads of KSA, CAO and ASEAN spoke together and decided to hold a joint event instead. Since the Lunar New Year is celebrated in each of the regions represented by these groups, the students felt it worthwhile to explore and compare new year’s traditions from each of their cultures.

“This is the first time CAO has collaborated with KSA and ASEAN,” said Julian Wang ’13, co-chair of CAO. “Given the tight schedule, I thought the three clubs cooperated very well, all making major contributions to the celebration.”

“It has been a wonderful experience bringing the event to fruition.”

With its festive atmosphere and more-than-respectable turnout, the Lunar New Year Dinner “met and exceeded” J. Wang’s expectations.

Continuing in this spirit of inter-club cooperation, the CAO’s annual Spring Concert will feature food, music and performances from other campus affinity groups, as well as acts by student groups hailing from the Five Colleges.

Issue 15, Submitted 2011-02-16 02:04:16