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Asian Heritage Celebration!

In Asian, Diversity, Uncategorized on April 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Why do we bother celebrating our heritage? And why should we celebrate Asian heritage? 

The term “Asian” here encompasses all countries in the Asian continent. With Asia being the largest and most populous continent in the world, therein lie a vast number of cultures, ethnic groups and histories. Celebrating one’s culture is to celebrate oneself. No matter where you were born, your heritage always lies within you. At our university, with such a diverse student population, students are exposed to diverse cultures daily. Events like the Asian Heritage Celebration expose students to aspects of those cultures that they may not experience in the classroom.

AHC-Promo-BSO-01Our center has set out to highlight the cultures of large and small student populations but this celebration is meant to benefit all students of the university. Not only do students of Asian heritage feel empowered at such events, students from other cultures can also learn and appreciate a culture different than their own. Appreciation of other cultures and heritages is also a part of being well-rounded.

Ms. Duy-Loan Le Senior Fellow, Texas Instruments

Ms. Duy-Loan Le
Senior Fellow, Texas Instruments

This year, the Multicultural Center has invited a powerful speaker, Ms. Duy-Loan Le. Not only that she is a successful Asian woman, she is also very inspirational when it comes to perseverance and overcoming hardships. I have been to a conference where I had the chance to hear her speak, and I was convinced that she would be a great speaker to bring to our campus. She motivated me to work harder than I thought I could or had, and I hope all of those who come will enjoy her presentation as much as I did.

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We have also invited the Bangladeshi Student Organization and Filipino Student Association to perform at the event to showcase their respective cultures and students’ talents; as some of you may know, these two groups have received awards for their performances, and we are very excited to have them perform again at the Asian Heritage Celebration.

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Attendees will get to enjoy great performances and interact with a very famous individual while having lunch catered by Masala Wok. Our service is provided at no cost to UTD students. I look forward to seeing you there!

-Vi

Multicultural Center. Student Centered. Diversity Driven.

Lunar New Year Celebration!

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

The weather during the first week of February was predicted to be cold, but it was a warm day on Wednesday, February 6th; perhaps because of the Lunar New Year Celebration that was happening here at UT Dallas. Around 3 PM in the Visitor Center Atrium, were groups of people setting up sound system, moving chairs and tables, and hanging decorations.  The crowd of onlookers slowly increased the closer it got to 5 PM and everybody was quickly trying to get everything ready.  There were young ladies wearing their traditional dresses, others at game booths, and some walking around the stage area. At the same time, volunteers were working hard to check in guests and hand out raffle tickets.  It was one hectic time crunch.

Hosts

Photo Courtesy of Calvin Araracap

The program officially started moments later when Yiang and I introduced ourselves to the audience as the hosts for the night. Yiang Chen is the Secretary for the Chinese Student Association, one of the co-sponsor student organizations for the event. We carried on with a brief description of what Lunar New Year is and how it is celebrated by various cultures. The audience had a chance to learn how to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese, with the help of representatives from their respective organizations. Soon after, the guests were treated with samples of food from a variety of Asian countries, including: Eggroll, Filipino ice cream, Chinese and Vietnamese rice cake, Korean cracker, etc.

To get the crowd excited, the lion dance group from Phap Quang Temple was invited to put on a lion dance show. And the crowd got excited indeed! As soon as the group started the drum rolls, everyone gathered to watch the show – some even got to “pet” the lion.

Temple Lion Dance

Photo Courtesy of UT Dallas

Following the lion dance show, were dances and musical performances that UTD students had worked very hard to put together. The Japanese Student Association (JSA) brought not only one but three performances to the event, with one of them featuring “yukata” – the beautiful Japanese traditional clothing.

The ladies and gentlemen of Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) had a cute hat dance, showcasing the well-known rice hats and “ao dai” – traditional dress of Vietnam. There were multiple live musical performances put together by the Filipino, Chinese, and Korean Undergraduate student associations (FSA, CSA, KUSA), some of which featured songs in their own languages! The evening was filled with many cultural appreciations, but it did not stop there.  Another Vietnamese student group, VINCEF, brought a performance that demonstrated how children in Vietnam celebrated the New Year. The night ended with a spectacular magic show by Jacob Ponce, a student here at UT Dallas, which in my opinion though, is a real magician.

Activity

Photo Courtesy of Calvin Araracap

FSA

Photo Courtesy of Calvin Araracap

While the performances were going on in the Atrium, there were various activities set up in the hallway for guests to experience with some Asian themed games. Global Village and Filipino Student Association were educating guests on how to make lucky knots and flower decorations.

The Japanese Student Association had the guests engaged in a game that requires skill and patience – water balloon fishing. Meanwhile the Vietnamese Student Association involved the crowd in a traditional gambling game to see who is lucky in the Year of the Snake.

Activities

Photo Courtesy of Calvin Araracap

Not until when I finally got a chance to look around had I realized that this space brought a very warm feeling to my heart – it was filled with red envelopes hung on strings, red ribbons wrapped around the poles, balloons floating next to each table, and New Year’s decorations displayed in multiple corners. All of this resulted from the hard work of a group of dedicated students who volunteered to help with the event. I could never thank them enough – each volunteer who was there that night, each officer who was part of a planning committee, each performer who helped put on the best show, each photographer who contributed to making the memories of the night last, and each staff member and MPA in the Multicultural Center and SUAAB who worked behind the scenes to have the Lunar New Year Celebration be as successful as it was. Last but not least, thank you to all those who came that night, I hope you enjoyed the event and learned something new. Until next year!

 

Author: Vi Tran

Vi is a Multicultural Peer Advocate in the Multicultural Center. She is responsible for assisting in the planning and execution of asian programming and other cultural events in the enter. She is working on her Master’s in Information Technology and Management in the JSOM here at UT Dallas. She likes to have fun and be active on campus. Look for more blog posts from her in the future.

Behind the scenes of the MLK Breakfast

In Cultural Programs, General on February 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

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January 24th, 2013, had to be one of the most exciting events I have ever been a part of and participated in. There were so many people waiting to come inside and observe what was going to be taking place. As a MPA for the Multicultural Center, I hadn’t seen an event this hectic since the Salsa Night for Hispanic Heritage Month last semester. Salsa Night was the first event that I worked on campus as a Multicultural Peer Advocate and, preparing for the breakfast brought me flashbacks. I mean, who knew that I would be so nervous to see how the event I worked on was going to turnout.

There had been plenty of events that that my co-workers had lead the planning on. For the most part they turned out pretty well, but the MLK breakfast would actually be the first African American program event this year. I couldn’t tell you how much sweat was in my palms or the thoughts that were racing around in my brain. All I could think about was that our team, nor I, didn’t mess up. We put so much work into it, especially my supervisor. If one of us messed up would have been terrible. The pressure was on and it was time to perform!

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The “Student Voices of UTD” who portrayed protesters in the re-enactment of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom.


All of the MPA’s, the MC full time staff, and the people who were participating in the skit had to be at the Multicultural Center by 7:45 am to make sure everything went as planned. There were two groups, one that would portray the civil rights leaders who lead the March on Washington and the latter portrayed the Americans who marched with them. You could sense the urgency in everyone’s eyes as we were serious about getting our parts down.

The "Voices of UTD" march in during an re-enactment of "The March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom".

The “Voices of UTD” march in during an re-enactment of “The March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom”.

Shortly thereafter, it was time for the show to start and we marched in with our posters singing “This little light of mine…I’m going to let it shine” and the crowd was engaged in the re-enactment as well. It’s like we went back to 1963 for a moment to the civil rights era, where we sat and listened to the great speakers express their thoughts about freedom. The crowd was definitely moved, and began to clap as if they had never heard the speeches before.

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UTD Students Tim Jackson, Albert Palmer and Zain Gaziani look on as Colin Philips recites Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the MLK Celebration Breakfast.

The crowd was especially electrified as Martin Luther King Jr. (played by political science sophomore, Colin Phillips)  recited Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The room was full of energy and joy when he spoke the words “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” At that moment, reality hit me and I realized that as we were reliving these moments, I truly appreciated everything my past ancestors did for me and I appreciate all the African-American heroes who not only made a difference for their own race but for every other minority. It’s always important to pay homage to the past.

Author: Chidi Echebiri

Chidi is a Multicultural Peer Advocate in the Multicultural Center. He is responsible for assisting in the planning and execution of cultural programming and events in the center. He is working on his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in the JSOM at UT Dallas. He likes to have fun and serves as the Parliamentarian for the Black Student Alliance at UTD. Look for more blog posts from him in the future.

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