The Asian American Student Association (AASA) and the Center for Diversity and Community (CDC) held its largest event of the semester Tuesday evening, celebrating the start of the Asian Lunar New Year. The event included food, performances by the Sioux Falls Chinese Association and a presentation about the Asian Lunar New Year.
Naivetya Patle, president of AASA, said this is one of two major events they host during the school year, the other being Diwali in the fall semester.
“All the events that we organize here on campus are about the learning and sharing of cultures and traditions that are native to Asian countries,” Patle said. “We love to share the educational aspect of it and make our USD student body and community aware of several traditions of the east.”
The event’s logistics are handled by the AASA’s executive team and active members and Patle said because the events are planned 2-3 months ahead of time, this gives them flexibility in booking venues.
The event began with speakers, including Patle and AASA recruitment chair Pooja Modawel, as well as CDC director Dr. Laura Chandler and AASA advisor Dr. Kimberly Grieve.
“This evening is one of the most cherished celebrations in the CDC. It’s one of our largest events and continues to grow each and every year,” Chandler said. “As always, I hope that this event provides a sweet reminder of home for students.”
Grieve said the Asian Lunar New Year is a chance for students to share in the diversity on campus at USD.
“At the core of inclusive excellence is the belief that increased diversity and inclusiveness are worthy goals that will lead a university that welcomes, respects, and celebrates the differences and embeds diversity throughout all aspects of the university,” said Grieve.
On the Chinese lunar calendar, 2020 is the year of the rat. The calendar goes through a 12 year cycle, each year represented by a different animal, the rat being the first in the cycle. Courtney Tang, AASA treasurer, gave a presentation on the Chinese Lunar New Year’s symbolism.
“There is a belief that people born in a lunar year have the personality of their year’s animal,” Tang said. “For example, this lunar new year is the year of the rat. People born in this year are said to be clever, quick thinkers, successful and content with having a peaceful life.”
After the speeches, the Sioux Falls Chinese Association performed a lion dance, Tai Chi, and a Korean classical dance.
Bryce Pape, a student who attended the event, said he found out about it because of his friends in the CDC.
“They put on great events up here,” Pape said.
The AASA will also be putting collaborating with the International Club to organize “Around the World Wednesday – Asian Night” in March.