By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
Friday evening, the doors of Waco Hall will open and those who walk in will get a taste of a myriad of cultures that are several thousand miles away from Waco. For the seventeenth year in a row, Baylor’s Asian Student Association, ASA, is hosting Asian Fest. Asian Fest is a cultural showcase and overall celebration of the vast diversity within Asian culture.
From October 16 to November 17, Baylor’s Department of Multicultural Affairs is hosting a Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month celebrating the diversity and culture such students bring to this campus.
Garland senior and president of ASA Duc Nguyen is looking forward to this year’s event being the biggest one yet.
“I hope this is going to be the biggest one yet, I’ll also be performing on stage, so I’m hoping that my last time is going to be a good time,” Nguyen said. “As president, I’m trying to make sure this Asian Fest is the best one yet.”
Starting at 6:30 p.m. with raffle prizes at the door, Asian Fest will be filled with performances ranging from K-pop cover groups to singing in the performer’s native language. Outside of Baylor, ASA is bringing in University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Woman’s University, University of North Texas and the University of Oklahoma to join in the festivities as well as perform.
Beaumont senior and Vice President of Japanese Student Association, JSA, Eric James has seen Asian Fest grow over the years and is excited that it’s his turn to help put on the event.
“I’m really looking forward to see all the other organizations and kind of getting to participate in the Asian cultural community at Baylor,” James said. “I think that’s a lot of fun and it’s been cool to see the performances get more diverse with both singing and dancing.”
Some of the organizations that are scheduled to perform are JSA, Korean Student Association and the Filipino Student Association and James will be one of nine students performing the popular Japanese dance Soran Bushi that was brought to Baylor by a past foreign exchange student.
“Soran Bushi is a popular dance in Japan that originates in Northern Japan that’s based off of the movement of fishermen as their hauling in fish,” James said. “It’s a dance that a lot of children would do in elementary school like as a [physical education] activity. It’s something that a lot of people are familiar with and it was something that was brought to Baylor by a Japanese exchange student in 2010.”
Asian Fest is open and free to all, but some might be hesitant to attend. For those who fit into that category James urges you to come out and learn about Asian culture.
“To people that are feeling hesitant about participating in something like this, this event is about branching out and celebrating diversity,” James said. “Even if you, don’t have a very strong connection with Asia personally, this is just a good way to learn about Asian culture and to celebrate all of the different groups we have here on campus.”