The Office of Multicultural Affairs will be hosting a Chinese New Year celebration Saturday, Jan. 21 in the Warch Campus Center from 7-10 p.m. The event is free and open to all Lawrence students and members of the Appleton community.
Every year, the Chinese Student Association at Lawrence hosts an intimate Chinese New Year gathering at International House. Filled with traditional dumplings and Chinese television, the event is a great way for Lawrence’s Chinese students to spend the holiday together. This year, however, the Chinese Student Association has teamed up with OMA and other student organizations to organize a campus-wide celebration.
OMA has been working with Lawrence International, the Chinese Students Association, SOUP and International Student Services to organize booths for the New Year celebration. They will be located in the Hurvis and Mead-Witter rooms of the Warch Campus Center.
“The booths will not necessarily be about Chinese New Year itself, but will have something to do with the culture,” says Ornella Hills ’12, the director of programs at the Office of Multicultural Affairs. “There will be music, food, games, some information about the New Year and the lion dance. The lion dance is something that is performed during the New Year in China. We try to reenact that part of the New Year celebration in China here at Lawrence.”
The Guang Hwa Lion Dance Group will be performing at the Chinese New Year expo at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The expo’s finale will be a Chinese acrobatic performance by Liang, who was previously a competitor on the show “America’s Got Talent.” She will be featuring traditional Chinese acts such as plate spinning and head balancing on Saturday.
Hills says, “It is an interactive show, so people from the audience have the opportunity to come up and try the tricks that she does.”
“I have always wanted to be a part of the New Year celebration,” says Hills, “but I didn’t feel as included. We are aiming to make all Lawrence students feel like they can be a part of the celebration.”
Fei Gao ’14, an international student from Sichuan, China, shares that Chinese New Year is usually a big celebration in her home.
Gao comments, “All the family members gather together and we watch television performances with many Chinese dancers, singers and celebrities. Then we eat dumplings around midnight.”
Additionally, Gao shares that it is tradition to put Chinese red papers, called dui lian, around the doors for good luck. These papers are filled with black characters that allude to blessings for the New Year.
Hills notes, “When I talked to some of the Chinese students, they were really excited about it and amazed that there are people on campus who are interested in their culture. It also makes them feel more at home and that people really appreciate the diversity on campus. [This is] important because the goal of the Office of Multicultural Affairs is to share and expose diversity on our campus, and also share that diversity with the Appleton community. I think it’s important for OMA to be on track with these programs so that they can pool the resources of OMA to expand these events. OMA and LI are making the celebration more available to a bigger population.”