Asian Awareness at Lawrence

Emily Alinder

Lawrence’s Asian Awareness Club is looking to expand to include a more diverse group of members and become more campuswide. The purpose of the club is for Lawrence students of all races to learn more about Asian cultures, holidays and customs.
The Asian Awareness Club was started six years ago by Sandy Vang and split off from the Diversity Club. For a while the club was inactive, but two years ago Asian Awareness was rekindled at Lawrence. Today there are 10 to 15 active members who are mostly Waseda University students from Japan.
Last year, the club brought comedian Eliot Chang – who has been on Comedy Central a few times – to campus for a performance, held a karaoke night, did “Far East Feast” potlucks, and hosted a couple of movie nights.
Far East Feast is a gathering held each term in which all the members help cook a potluck dinner of authentic Asian cuisine. Held in Hiett Hall’s fourth-floor kitchen, it is informal but usually draws around 30 students. The Asian Awareness Club is currently collaborating with Dining Services to plan a night of authentic Chinese cuisine in February, in celebration of the Chinese New Year. As well as potlucks, Asian Awareness is planning a karaoke night and cultural movie nights for this year.
The club is also selling cookbooks called “Chinese Home Cooking Made Easy” for $20 per book. The book was written by a close family friend of club president Van Yang. The recipes are for authentic Chinese cuisine made with Western ingredients.
At 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, club members begin gathering in Downer Room F, some trickling in a bit after. Japanese, Chinese and English languages mingle amidst the meal and informal meeting. Lots of laughter fills the room between sharing stories about traveling, cultural reminiscence and good times at Lawrence. Also, the occasional impromptu teachings of vocabulary – in Japanese, Chinese and English – add to the meal. Asian Awareness highly encourages anyone interested to stop by and join them for dinner. It is definitely a blast.