(Andrew Burget): Members of the Asian Student Union pose at the Lunar New Year Celebration on Feb. 5.

ASU hosts Lunar New Year celebration

February 7, 2022

The UVM Asian Student Union held their annual Lunar New Year celebration on the theme of rebuilding bridges as a recovery from last year’s challenging times, said junior Drake Nguyen, ASU club outreach coordinator.

The event was held Saturday, Feb. 5 in the Grand Maple Ballroom of the Davis Center. It included performances and food, as well as information about the hardships the Asian community has faced.

“A lot of people within the Asian-American community felt the Stop Asian Hate movement to the core,” said senior Ellery Finn, ASU club president. “Many Southeast Asians were living in fear of going out and it wasn’t getting any coverage.”

The club had fundraisers last year supporting national organizations like Stop Asian Hate and local organizations like the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Vermont, Finn said.

The Asian-American community faced hardship in the form of anti-Asian sentiment. Between 2019-20 hate crimes decreased by 7% nationwide, but increased 150% against Asians, according to the items: Insights from the Social Sciences webpage.

The Lunar New Year event brings attention to the Asian-American community at UVM and in Burlington, Finn said.

“What we do is try to get the word out about who we are, and that may just be by existing physically in the space,” Finn said.

Events like Lunar New Year are important within the Asian-American community because they offer a sense of community, Finn said.

“Each one of our members brings something very personal to Lunar,” Finn said. “That’s what we’re trying to give back to the community both for those who don’t celebrate it and for those who share the same identity but don’t feel that it’s being amplified.”

Part of what inspired the theme was the disconnection of being in a global pandemic, Finn said.

“A lot was taken from not only our community but everyone during COVID-19,” Finn said. “Businesses had to close and a lot of friendships were lost, but now that we’re given this opportunity with the vaccine and being in person for activities, we’re rebuilding what we have lost.”

ASU was unable to put on the Lunar New Year celebration in 2021 due to COVID-19, Finn said. This year the club aims to celebrate not just a new lunar year, but also a renewal after the past couple of years.

“It’s important to have that face to face interaction,” Nguyen said. “Especially with the people that share similar experiences that you can build off of.”

The celebration included performances from student-run clubs UVM Taiko and UVM Jazbaa, as well as from local organization Burlington K-Pop band Alkali and Burlington drag queen Sasha Sriracha.

“The taiko drums were my favorite part,” graduate student Jenni Stocker said. “I used to go to Lunar New Year in New York and I’d always hear the drums and that memory is really special.”

The Vermont Cynic • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in