By Emily Devi Ramkishun
The Chinese Student Association (CSA) hosted a celebration for Chinese New Year, the biggest event for their organization, on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Brower Student Center.
The event began with members from the organization entering the room holding up a 3D paper dragon (about 10ft), circling the room while the dragon continuously moved up and down. The dragon dance is a culturally significant dance that symbolizes power, shown in the video linked here.
“Collectively as an e-board we [CSA] wanted to show our dedication to the event, as well as a way to introduce the e-board,” said Gianna Barone, a sophomore psychology major and vice president of CSA.
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year (新年) or Spring Festival (春节), was celebrated on Jan. 22 globally. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years, and according to ancient Chinese legend, a scary monster named Nian (年) would hunt after people and their livestock.
One year, the people of the village decided to fight back by hanging red couplets on their doors, setting off fireworks with loud cheers and more activities. These are now part of a traditional New Year celebration in China.
“[There were] informative powerpoints about Chinese New Year — I didn’t know about that stuff,” said Bella Rose Reich, a sophomore business management major.
For dinner, dumplings, veggie and pork spring rolls, fried rice, chicken mei fun, pepper steak, sesame balls and veggie lo mein were served.
Dr. Timothy Urban, an aural skills coordinator who has performed many international chamber ensembles, performed two classical songs with a Chinese flute. Ella Hargy also performed a traditional Xinjiang dance wearing a beautiful yellow cultural piece. While Hargy learned ballet, jazz, contemporary dance and hip-hop, she also learned Chinese folk dance.
“We wanted to recruit as many Chinese modern/traditional performances as we can this year because in the past we've only had maybe one or two actually Chinese culture performances,” Barone said.
CSA is happy to promote Chinese culture with its fundraisers, food, performances, study abroad trips and professor courses. They encourage students to be a part of the organization.
“[I am] grateful as a white person to be welcomed into these spaces where I can appreciate the culture which I have such a love for,” said Lorreta Wolchko, a junior international studies major concentrating in Asian studies. She also performed a contemporary song from the 1970s called “The Moon Represents My Heart.”
CSA currently has about 20-25 members.
“I feel like the College does a good job with starting the [student organizations], but in terms of supporting them and keeping them alive, it is a little hard,” said Gianna Barone, a sophomore psychology major and vice president of CSA.
When asked about the inclusion of ethnic organizations on campus, Ethan Wong, a senior finance major and president of CSA, said, “At first [the College] wasn’t doing a great job, but they are getting better at it.”
Follow @tcnjcsa on Instagram to become a part of their community. CSA’s general board meetings are held on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. in BSC 222.