by Esther Brown | Staff Writer
Students from around the world gathered together in the Arend lounge on Saturday, Feb. 2 to celebrate Lunar New Year. This gathering was Asian Alliance’s kickoff event as a newly formed group. Asian Alliance has not been chartered yet, but they plan on becoming official within the following months.
“The mission of our club is to serve as a safe space for students of Asian heritage and also aim to educate other people on Asian culture, while promoting inclusivity,” said junior Nandia Shirchindorj, co-president of the club.
Asian Alliance chose to celebrate Lunar New Year because of its wide celebration throughout Asia. Along with tea and food from different countries, the event featured decorative posters in five different languages, including Mongolian, Tagalog, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Japanese. A photo booth and activity station were also set up for students to make red paper lanterns and try writing in different languages.
More than 60 people attended the event, including many curious students passing through the residence hall. The lounge was crowded with the large amount of students talking and mingling.
“I feel like at Whitworth, not a lot of people are aware of the Lunar New Year holiday. People view it as some kind of exotic event, and by bringing it into an established club, it helped normalize it and how people view it,” said freshman Enoch Tsai. “My favorite part was seeing all these people grouped together… even though we were all from different nationalities, it was an event that we could get behind and support each other.”
The vision and initial creation of Asian Alliance started last fall semester with six students who were dedicated to the idea of building connections within the Asian community at Whitworth.
“We felt like there was an underrepresentation of Asian culture on campus and that the Asian community had grown on campus, and so the best way to meet other Asians is to make a central place for them,” said Gracie Pfau, co-president.
One of the club’s main goals is to create a sustainable vision. According to Shirchindorj, there has been a previous Asian club, but no one continued it in recent years. The plan is to develop a strong enough presence that the Whitworth community will feel lacking without its existence.