Lunar New Year celebration recognizes campus Chinese culture

by Adriana Millar, Assistant News Editor

The Aztec Student Union Board Culture, Arts and Film committee hosted a Lunar New Year-themed event to bring awareness to Chinese culture on Feb. 2.

Chinese Lunar New Year took place on Jan. 28, and welcomed the year of the rooster. Lunar New Year is based off of the Chinese lunar calendar, and is considered one of the most important celebrations in Chinese culture.

Committee chair Rehema Midamba said the purpose of the event was to expose students to different cultures, and to inspire them to learn more about Chinese culture.

“Because we have a really huge Chinese population….I thought it would be good for students to experience an authentic Lunar New Year,” she said.

The event began during the lunchtime rush at 12 p.m. at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, during which more than 240 students stopped by the Lunar New Year event, Midamba said.

Activities included calligraphy, origami and mason jar decorating, as well as free Chinese food.

Traditional lion dancers were scheduled to perform at the event, but the group cancelled unexpectedly, Midamba said.

“A lot of the students just went to the food aspects of things, but I’m just hoping that knowing that there is a Lunar New Year event will engage them to learn more on their own,” she said.

Committee programming assistant David Rakieten said students attending for free food happens at every social event. He said the true value lay in students who stay and engage with the event.

“You could have 700 people show up, and 300 people learn something about what’s going on, (and) I’m happy,” he said.

Nursing sophomore Tin Nguyen said he heard about the event through a friend and .

it was important to have cultural events on campus.

“It exposes other students to (different cultures), and to be aware of other cultures on campus,” he said.

Electrical engineering senior Alven Eusantos said he saw a post about the event on Facebook, and decided to stop by.

“Representation matters, and it’s cool to have these activities for everyone to do,” he said. “However, the event lacked information of the cultural significance of the holiday. I’m not really learning anything.”

Midamba said volunteers were tasked with talking to attendees about the Lunar New Year.

“But is is kind of hectic when so many people are coming at once,” she said.

Midamba said students could have a better understanding of different cultures at San Diego State.

The Culture, Arts and Film committee is planning many more events throughout the semester, including a culture carnival, Monday night movies and a “Humans of SDSU” interviewing series.

“These are the kind of events that are needed to expand their horizons, especially living in San Diego, where we have so many travelers and international people,” she said.