By Shawna Leader/The AS Review
The Chinese Student Association (CSA), a new Ethnic Student Center (ESC) club, has big plans for this year. One is the Lunar New Year’s Night, which will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 12 in the VU Multipurpose Room. The official day of the Chinese Lunar New Year occurs on Feb. 14 and commemorates the year of the tiger.
The event will feature a fan dance by the Vietnamese Student Association, a martial arts demonstration by the Chinese Martial Arts Academy, and booths for arts and crafts and calligraphy, CSA President Kevin Ng said. A calligraphy demonstration, face painting, a tea ceremony, karaoke and a traditional Erhu dance will also take place at the event, CSA Webmaster Vivian Kwan said. The event is free to all participants and food will be provided by Campus Dining Services and local vendors.
The event will connect Western students with the Chinese community in Bellingham, as several representatives from the community will be attending, Ng said. Reaching beyond the Western campus was not something that Ng had done before, but he sees the value of connecting to the Chinese community in Bellingham, he said.
“There’s a lot of people that we can seek [out and] ask advice, if we need to,” Ng said.
Students of all backgrounds are welcome. Just because a person is not Chinese does not mean they are not interested in Chinese culture, Ng said.
“All you have to do is show up, enjoy it and be exposed to it,” he said.
As the quarter continues, the CSA will continue to establish a presence on campus and provide a place for its members to discuss Chinese culture and how they relate to it, Kwan said. One of the club’s goals is to maintain a focus on culture and identity, she said.
“We established the club mostly to find a place where we could learn more about the Chinese culture and find students who are interested in that,” Kwan said.
During meetings, members discuss identity and culture, as well as participate in team-building activities such as photo scavenger hunts, Ng said. He added that the club environment is relaxed so that people need not look any further to find a community they can identify with.
“I never had the luxury of a CSA when I came here,” Ng said.
Ng started the club during his freshman year with his friend Melissa Gruben. The original title was United Students of East Asia. However, the name was changed to Chinese Student Association because most of the members were Chinese-American, Ng said. The CSA became an AS club last spring and was incorporated into the ESC last fall.
One long-term project the club is working on is compiling a cookbook, which will contain club members’ favorite recipes. They hope to have it available by the end of spring quarter, Kwan said. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy may contact the CSA during the spring.
The club also plans to hold potlucks and will have at least one in the spring at the end of the quarter, Kwan said. A trip up to Richmond, British Columbia to visit the Chinese community there is also a possibility, she said.
Above all, the club is about creating a sense of inclusiveness and community, Ng said.
“There’s a lot of Chinese people with different stories … I really want to discover that,” Ng said.
The CSA meets on Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. in Communications 225. Contact the CSA at email@example.com.