The year of the rabbit

The Asian student organization brought back their Lunar New Year celebration

A toast to the Lunar New Year and welcoming the year of the rabbit. Jan. 26 was a busy day for the Asian Student Organization and the International Student Organization. Both registered student organizations came together to host a late celebration for the East Asian holiday.

Health information management and healthcare systems administration junior Nicole Ly is the president of ASO and spearheaded the event.

“Lunar New Year is a popular holiday in East Asia, and it celebrates the tenets of family and coming together to share good food and good spirits,” Ly said. “It’s the year of the rabbit following the Chinese zodiac mythology. We have 12 different animals that correspond with a 12 year cycle.”

Project management junior Becca Barkley helped out at the Lunar New Year event by serving authentic Asian cuisine. Photo by: Marissa Russell | Multimedia Editor

Ly was thrilled to finally be able to host this once-popular Ferris event and share a piece of her culture with her peers. The IRC connector was embellished with decorations that embodied Asian culture. Lucky colors outlined the room as excited students filed in to begin the celebration.

Digital animation freshman Sherlyn Trejo-Villegas handed out festive cards that gave insight into the new year based on the year you were born. For example, 2002 is the year of the horse, 2003 is the sheep, 2004 is the monkey and so on. Trejo-Villegas, who is also the social media manager for the ASO, acted as the guide to fortunes at the event.

Executive director of the Office of International Education Lisa VonReichbauer cherished having this event brought back.

“Prior to [COVID-19], this was a campus-wide event, but we’re rebuilding and getting things going there,” VonReichbauer said.

VonReichbauer explained how the ASO and ISO would plan a large event celebrating the Asian holiday with special performances, food and games. Coming back from the virtual world, they aimed at getting the Lunar New Year event back on its feet to give the cultural students comfort.

Despite not celebrating the Lunar New Year in his personal beliefs, software engineering major TJ Muhammag believes in unity.

“We’re all here from different parts of the world, so we need to stick together,” Muhammag said.

Muhammag, who is an international student from Pakistan and the ISO’s vice president, went on to say how important it is to support your friends’ cultures.

Posted at the event’s entrance and collecting the admission fee with a smile sat project management sophomore Emmery Sangalang.

“A lot of people think that this is just a space for Asian students, but we’re just more appreciative of the culture in this organization. We aren’t looking to exclude anyone, we just want a safe space,” Sangalang said.

Participants could get a new year fortune based on their birth year. Photo by: Marissa Russell| Multimedia Editor

Sangalang also acts as the treasurer for the Asian Student Alliance and helped prepare some of the food for the event. Although her family never celebrated the Lunar New Year, setting up the event and providing a sense of familiarity to those that do was rewarding.

Medical laboratory sciences junior Adrianna Arce was another friendly face at the event. Arce, who is not affiliated with either organization, came to the Lunar New Year event with an interest in meeting new people and learning about an unfamiliar cultural celebration.

The ASO is always looking to reach more students. Come to the IRC on Feb. 1 at 7:15 p.m. to join in on their next meeting and meet the members. Or come out to support their Valentine’s Day event on Feb. 15 in the IRC.