Student organizations celebrate Lunar New Year and unity on campus

The Asian Student Association hosted 500 students in the Barfield Drawing Room for Lunar New Year festivities on Feb. 8. Megan Powers | Multimedia Journalist

By Lizzie Thomas | Reporter

Approximately 500 students gathered in the Barfield Drawing Room to celebrate Lunar New Year on Friday. The Lunar New Year or sometimes referred to the Chinese New Year, is a celebration centered around the new year of the traditional Chinese calender.

All Asian student organizations participated in the event, hosted by the Asian Student Association (ASA), presenting booths with different games common to their culture and representing their own characteristic traits. Lion dancers performed and some students sang medleys in different languages. Crystal Nguyen performed English and Vietnamese songs and Aaron Nguyen performed Korean songs.

According to Tulsa, Okla., sophomore and ASA vice president Elenista-Ann Lam, the purpose of the event is to include all the Asian student organizations and to educate the broader Baylor community on Asian culture.

“The reason why we call it Lunar New Year is so that we don’t exclude any Asian culture,” Lam said. “That’s why we had all the other Asian cultural organizations come — so everybody feels represented. That’s what it was for. A lot of people say ‘Chinese New Year,’ but that’s why we don’t want to call it Chinese New Year — so we can have all these other cultures represented and have a good time.”

Houston sophomore Laura Jackson, president of ASA, she hopes more people know about her community so they can get involved.

“In my eyes, being president of ASA, I like the idea of being together in a community in that kind of comfortable, fun, casual and lighthearted atmosphere. Something that I want to do is to open us up to more of Baylor,” Jackson said. “I know that a lot of people don’t know that there are student associations for minorities, so I want it to be more open. I saw a few different families and representations of different organizations at Lunar New Year, which I thought was awesome and proves to me that it’s working — that people are seeing the marketing and recognizing that we’re reaching out and invited to this kind of thing.”

Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asian culture, Lam said. Some of the similarities are going home to family, a big family meal and getting new clothes as a part of refreshing, according to Lam.

“Usually it’s a time to make ourselves look good and buy new clothes — it’s just like a restart of the New Year,” Lam said.

However, some of the differences between how cultures celebrate are expressed in the food.

“There are specifics: Food is a huge part of Asian culture,” Lam said. “So some of the differences might be in that, culture to culture, but overall it’s pretty similar when it comes to gathering. It’s just a time to be with our family.”

According to Jackson, the differences between how Asian cultures celebrate Lunar New Year are in the dress and food, but in many cases, the lines between cultures overlap.

According to Lam, ASA is about celebrating Asian culture and presenting that to others, so a student doesn’t have to be Asian to join.

“We’re just here to spread Asian culture,” Lam said. “So, people who are interested in [how] Asians could feel more included in Baylor can find out more about us.”