The Center for Multicultural Affairs continued its week of welcoming ceremonies on Tuesday, allowing the Asians and Pacific Americans to have their turn after the Latino celebration on Monday.
Tables were strewn with wreaths of imitation greenery and two large speakers peacefully played Hawaiian music. Food was also served: sushi, salad, and beef, chicken or tofu teriyaki.
Unlike the weather conditions for the Latino ceremony, Tuesday’s weather attracted larger crowds who swarmed around the tables of food and collected the free trinkets given out, such as key chains and traditional Asian fans that were hand-painted with watercolors by students.
“This is a great opportunity for students to meet each other and to see other Asians on campus,” said Sophie Low, student development coordinator for the McNeill Academic Program.
Many students and faculty stopped by to mingle and enjoy the food, which resulted in many struggles to eat with chopsticks.
“Events like these create a sense of community on campus, so many students can get closer and bond with students of all backgrounds,” said Alvina Yeh, a senior international affairs and Chinese major. “It also helps underrepresented people support each other throughout the year.”
Some attendants expressed concern for the Asian community.
“These student groups do a great job of informing the community and organizing events for proactive involvement, but the students and kids themselves seem to be lazy about it sometimes,” said Yura Oh, a junior psychology and speech, language and hearing sciences major.
Oh is not the only one who sees a lack of student effort when it comes to multicultural community.
“A lot of students don’t know about CMA, and they should, especially considering it’s an organization specifically devoted to serving students of color,” said Megan Canon, a senior biochemistry major. “Asian Americans are the largest ethnic group on campus, but I think we’re the least visible and proactive. We need to encourage those students to take the initiative to become a prevalent and heard voice on this campus.”
Canon commended the CU’s Latino and African-American groups for a very strong sense of community that she feels the Asians still have to build.
However, Leslie Wong, CMA director for Asian Pacific American student services, thinks that strong community already exists, but in a different way.
“I think our sense of community is just as strong, it just comes out in a different way. It’s especially difficult because we try to encompass so many different Asian populations, all of whom share a distinct and different culture and language, even though we’re often stereotyped under a single image,” Wong said.
Despite concerns, everyone was chattering and laughing in groups of friends with mouthfuls of sushi.
Wong summarized the evening’s purpose with a smile.
“Find a face you don’t know and connect. Make a new friend tonight,” Wong said. “Students should really take advantage of our early events, because it allows them to connect with a community they can turn to throughout the year.”