Today: May 29, 2024

Asian Culture Society celebrates the new year

Sarah Shelton Features Editor

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

On Feb. 9, students, faculty and staff filed into Engleman B121 to celebrate the Lunar New Year of 2022. 

“I want to commend these students because the organization is active this year and we’re able to put on this event for you,” Director of Multicultural Affairs Dian Brown-Albert announced at the beginning of the event. 

The Asian Culture Society became a part of the university’s Multicultural Center just last semester. Before everyone got started with the crafts that the Multicultural Center brought, Dr. Yan Quan Liu gave some words. 

“I’ve been here for over 20 years. So, old guy here. 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 in reaction to all the anti-Asian hate crimes that are happening all over the world, not just in America,” Liu said. “This year, we are banding together and we’re doing something that we hope that Southern as a community can come together and participate in. We are going to create an installation and maybe a couple of installations on paper cranes that we will string up using lots of different colored papers of origami and showing the diversity of our student population, faculty, and staff population and just the diversity of the population in our community.” 

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

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

“What we’re hoping to do is to raise awareness against those 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 anywhere near us and we are going to promote inclusivity, diversity and love for everyone,” Liu said. 

Packaged food from Hing Wah ready to be handed out at the Lunar New Year event on Feb.9|Sarah Shelton

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

“This event was to, first of all, bring awareness to the fact that we have a new organization, so we have them here, just kind of he like a mingling event, it’s supposed to be a social event, but it’s it has a really good turnout. So it’s, definitely more than just a mingling social event. So I’m pretty happy about that,” Ortiz said. “I think it’s important because we really kind of been ignoring our Asian students on our campus, so it was important to have this group and have this event and have it be as big as it is.” 

Ortiz said they are going to string and hang the origami cranes around 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 it. And you put it in them, and then you open it next year,” Ortiz said. 

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

“I want to learn what the culture does for the Lunar celebration,” Polica said.  

Even though the Asian Culture Society is a newer association, Brown-Albert and Ms. June Cheng have been putting on this event for years. 

“We’ve been tag-teaming this together for like 15 years,” Brown-Albert said. 

Cheng mentions how this is the year of the tiger and how she recently found stuff from 12 years ago from the same event of the tiger. 

Because of COVID-19, they had to order pre-packaged food and nobody was allowed to eat in the room, but this did not let them down. They even ordered from a new restaurant the students wanted to try. 

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

Brown-Albert said she was not surprised by the big turnout the event had 

“Honestly because each year when we do this, we don’t have that many events like this for and by the Asian culture, so this has become a signature event,” Brown-Albert said. “So when students, faculty, staff hear that this is the Lunar New Year’s celebration, they want to take part because we don’t really have that many more opportunities, we need more, to celebrate the Asian culture. So I knew that we’d have a good turnout.” 

Brown Albert said she hopes students take away that they make sure they are good to everybody.  

“I’m just wishing everybody a blessed and happy new year, and I hope that carries on,” Brown-Albert said. “Spread the Love.” 

Red envelopes and candies handed out at the event on Feb.9 | Sarah Shelton

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