By Paula Diaz
With lanterns hung around the arch outside the back of Morrison and lights twinkling bright enough to add to the atmosphere, the first Asian Night Market hosted by the Asian Student Association was off to a promising start. Tables lined the arch, covered with red tablecloths, each representing different countries.
From China to India, each had various activities that allowed students to interact while they learned more and more about countries that at times tend to feel so far away. But the purpose of this event wasn’t just to give students a night filled with delicious treats and crafts, but rather to help inspire and educate the Asbury community.
“Our intention was to create an event for everyone on campus to be introduced to Asian culture. We wanted to have an event that was not exclusive to [the Asian Student Association],” member Kara Kaneko said. “We wanted to display ethnic foods and culture to our peers who may not be familiar with the Asian culture.”
While the event started off later in the evening last Tuesday, a steady stream of students made appearances at the event, taking advantage of all it had to offer. From face mask painting to an origami station and a table full of construction paper with dragons to color, creativity was on high at the event, allowing students to take a break from their mundane routines.
“I not only loved the lights and the look of the outdoor market,” junior Heather Hollingshead said, “but I got to make one of the dragon puppets! [I also learned] about Chinese puppetry and how they’re utilized at festivals…I thought that was neat insight.”
While events promoting cultural awareness are mainly put on by the Allelon Student Leadership Council, groups like that of the Asian Student Association are working to continue to bring forth more cultural awareness, which has brought a lot of great responses from various students on campus.
“It was a really cool setting and I [enjoyed] talking to people there. [The event] really allowed for different cultures to be showed off,” sophomore Hudson Ensz said.
Junior Ben Garverick echoed Ensz’s sentiments: “I really enjoyed the origami station, the different foods, and the overall atmosphere,” Garverick said. “It was an event that really captured the culture and was rich with Asian spirit.”
Cultural awareness in a campus filled with students from different backgrounds is key in understanding where everyone comes from and this event allowed that to happen. “I am all about travel and culture,” Hollingshead said. “I feel like a lot of people enjoy it too but they don’t have the means to…I’d like [the event] to have the potential to be bigger next year.”
And while the success of the event was evident through the attendance, putting it together wasn’t something that was accomplished from one day to the next. Several different factors like bad weather to changes in schedule affected the event.
But through the struggles the event was accomplished, surpassing the Asian Student Association’s expectations. “Some of the things we thought we thought about doing, like red awnings for the arches, cultural performances, and a lantern release didn’t happen for various reasons,” Kaneko said. “But despite some of our setbacks, and changes of dates for it, we had a greater turnout than we expected!”